Residents help stranded refugee go home

Everlast Shamba who found himself homeless in a different city amid a pandemic.

The Sea Point community has come together to assist a Zimbabwean man who found himself on the streets during the Covid19 pandemic.

Everlast Shamba came to Cape Town just before the lockdown after he was offered a job by a relative.

When he arrived in Cape Town, the relative was nowhere to be found.

The 27-year-old soon found himself on the streets after his documents, including ID, passport and refugee asylum papers, were stolen.

Four different women befriended the man who sat on the same bench on the promenade every day.

One of them, Dana Lazerson, said she walks on the promenade every day and would see the man sitting there with a placard with the words, “Please help. Anything. God Bless”.

“Everlast, somehow caught my attention. I walk on the promenade daily and I could tell that this guy was not a vagrant. I wanted to hear his story,” she said.

Ms Lazerson said when Mr Shamba shared his story, she believed him and started helping him with food.

She said unbeknown to her, three other women, Megan Macnab Harvie, Jenna Volkwyn and someone only known as Gina were helping Mr Shamba with necessities.

“I found out on social media, when I saw a post about Everlast, where one woman heard his story and also tried to help,” she said.

She said two other women came up and all four of them came together to assist him.

“We were strangers and didn’t know anything about each other but we had a common goal – to assist Everlast to go back home,” she said.

Ms Lazerson said they split the work and could not take him to the shelters because he had no documentation and they decided to take him to the Sea Point Central Improvement District (SPCID).

SPCID’s fieldworker Pedro Bosch met with one of them who said they had raised sufficient money for Mr Shamba to go home and requested Mr Bosch to assist with the travel arrangements.

He went to Home Affairs for a reprint of his asylum papers.

Ms Lazerson said: “We can’t thank the SPCID’s Pedro and his wife Fiona enough for the work that they do for the people in need in this community. Everything went well and it’s beautiful how everyone came together and lent a hand,” she said.

She added that Mr Shamba had such bad memories from Cape Town and she decided to take him out for a drive around to see the beauty of the city.

A company was found to take him directly from Cape Town to Zimbabwe. After a meeting with the owner of the transport company, Mr Shamba left for Zimbabwe with goods for his family bought with the funds raised.

Heather Tager, chief operating officer of the SPCID, said: “This is what community involvement can achieve when everyone works together and combines their efforts.

We thank the ladies involved who went out of their way and participated in every step to get Everlast back to Zimbabwe and reunited with his family.”