By ALYSSA HARRISON
There is a bite to the air as Sisipho* sits on an upturned crate with a pillow over it. She pulls a yellow car guard vest over her jersey, her eyes darting as a car pulls up next to her in a parking space. A family walks into a nearby restaurant.
“May I look after your car for you?” she calls.
Their pace quickens. Their gazes are averted.
Sisipho sits at the same street corner every day. Sometimes, people are kind enough to leave a tip. Others drive off without a word.
There is no place for her to shelter. Today it is cloudy – it looks like it might rain. She sits with her shoulders hunched, trying to keep in the warmth.
She wishes that people would see that being a car guard is important, that she’s only trying to earn a living, just like everyone else.
But she also wishes that people would see her as more than a car guard. She wants them to see her as a person, as someone who is educated, who helped students with their theses at the Botany Department at Rhodes.
She dreams of a life beyond this street corner, where she can have her own car and build a house for herself and her 12-year-old son. She dreams of finishing her degree to become a social worker because all she wants to do is help people.
She comes from Extension 9 to sit here every day. She endures criminals who break into cars or try to bully her, threatening her with knives so that they can get her spot and take the money she has earned. She doesn’t have the power to fight back, leaving her feeling vulnerable.
She will have to come back to the street corner tomorrow. And the day after.
But still, Sisipho dreams.
*Not her real name