Facebook post lands beach cleaner a job

MATTHEW HIRSCH

A Facebook post that went viral led to a man being helped off the streets, getting job offers and an unexpected friendship forming.

Jay Margolis, a Tokai resident who works in the CBD, posted on March 7 about a homeless man, Siyabulela Dan Magobiyane, he had stumbled across cleaning a beach in Bantry Bay.

His Facebook post was shared more than 37 000 times and garnered a similar number of “likes”.

Since then, Mr Magobiyane has found himself a bed at The Haven Night Shelter in Green Point and has had more than 10 job offers.

Mr Magobiyana, who had been living on the streets for three years, said he never expected to get anything out of it. Rather he said, he was cleaning the beaches simply because no one else was.

“Sometimes the tourists would run away because of how dirty it was. How are the people going to come and visit if they see that it is dirty? It is a problem and I have always loved the sea.”

About the massive number of reposts, Mr Margolis said it was important that there was action and not just talk. He also said that Mr Magobiyane was just one of many people on the streets who needed a helping hand.

Mr Margolis came across Mr Magobiyana in between work meetings.

In his post he wrote: “So this afternoon I was in Bantry Bay waiting for a client to arrive and I see this chap putting two big bags into the rubbish bin. 15 minutes later, he arrives with another two big bags of rubbish and put them in the bin… When I come back, 45 minutes later, I see him filling another two big packets and wait for him to have a chat. Turns out,’ he’s embarrassed about the pollution, and wants the beaches looking good for the tourists, and for the sea’.

“He hasn’t been asked to do this, and doesn’t have a job. He goes on to tell me that he cleans the beaches every day, and for no reason other than he wants to ‘make the place nice’.”

A beaming Mr Magobiyana said that he was surprised and happy to hear about the job offers.

He said that he hasn’t told his mother, who lives in Philippi yet, but he was sure she would be proud.

“My mom told me that I must look for a house and look for a job so that I can be independent. I didn’t think what I was doing would ever lead to a job. I didn’t know that the post (got a positive reaction) but I am very happy.”

Mr Margolis added: “Unfortunately, we see in this country people who don’t have anything and resort to looking in bins for food or belongings. I saw him coming back with bags of really foul stuff like dead birds and he put it all in the bin and it struck me. I called him to have a chat and just find out about what he was doing. It became apparent that he was doing nothing other than putting our filth in the bin. He was doing it not because he wanted something but because it needed to be done and that is what a silent hero is.”

Mr Margolis said he very seldom posts on Facebook but he decided to post about this exchange, not expecting the kind of reaction it would get. “It just went ballistic and within 24 hours, it had over 24 000 shares.”

They met up the next day and things kicked off from there. At the time of going to print Mr Magobiyana was choosing from more than 10 job offers. One of the offers was for a job at a waste removal company which involved getting a driver’s licence for a truck.