‘As long as we’re together,’ says homeless husband

2015-06-18 11:09
The corner under the bridge close to Algoa Street where Hyrone and his wife Muriel stay. (Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

The corner under the bridge close to Algoa Street where Hyrone and his wife Muriel stay. (Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

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Port Elizabeth - Not everyone is snuggling up to hot chocolate and a warm fireplace in Nelson Mandela Bay this winter.

In a small corner under a bridge that runs over Algoa Street, Hyrone van Rensburg and his wife, Muriel, are battling the cold together.

“Whether we are in the bush, on a stoep or under the bridge, it doesn’t really matter, as long as Muriel and I are together,” the 45-year-old Hyrone told Netwerk24 on Wednesday.

The couple stays under the bridge with six other needy families to shield themselves from the wind and rain.

“On a good day, we can collect enough empty bottles to buy a R5 packet of meaty bones, bread, an onion and potatoes.

“If we’ve had something to eat, then we’re okay. Then we keep warm and steer clear of the rain.”

Muriel, 36, said she met Hyrone when she was 16-years-old while working for his mother as a housekeeper in Bloemendal.

Lost their home

They first lived in a wendy house in Moeggesukkel in northern Port Elizabeth, but lost the home almost ten years ago in a fire.

“After we left Moeggesukkel we were wandering here and there," Muriel said.

“We were the first people living along the railway in Kaalgat Street. That’s when we started moving from place to place.

“Where we can find place to lay our heads, that’s where we stay. For the past four months, we’ve been staying here [under the bridge], until the law says we can’t.”

A broken mattress, some blankets, paint tins, a candle, a crate to sit on, and the clothes on their back are all the couple have to their names.

“It’s our love that keeps us going. While we have each other, the winter is not so bad.

“But believe me, if ever I win the lotto or win even just a little bit of money, a roof over our heads will be the first thing I look for,” Hyrone said.

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  weather

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