"Roleplayers in the Pietermaritzburg Urban Renewal Programme (Purp) hope to rid the CBD of street children.
"To have street children in our city centre is in contrast with our Purp, which is aiming at cleaning and beautifying the city.
"We need to have a permanent task team that will focus on dealing with the issue of bylaw enforcement in the city." - The Witness, 20 June 2013
The words spoken by the spokesperson quoted in this article were chosen deliberately to show exactly what is though of those children living on the streets by the local authorities and organisations. When did helpless, hopeless and orphan children become a blight on beauty instead of a sign that our society is what some people call evil?
When did it happen that someone who sees a child begging in the streets sees not a child, but a nuisance that must be "dealt with"? When did street children change from victims of society's evils into predators and destroyers of our precious "beautifying"? Why do we automatically assume that these children actually have a choice, or that this is the life they wanted for themselves? Would we want our own children to live on the streets? If our children did live on the streets, would we see them as a blight or as a tragedy?
These children were born into a life that was determined to give them absolutely nothing from their first moment alive. Most of them are addicted to drugs because they simply cannot, will not and don't want to face the hopeless future that awaits them. If they have parents at all, they are most likely drunkards, neglectful and abusive. For many of them, the street is the only home they have, or the "better" choice from a limited set of bad options.