Cape Town traffic officer buys homeless people food during the Covid-19 pandemic

Siphelo Msamo giving food to homeless man. (Photo: Supplied to DRUM)
Siphelo Msamo giving food to homeless man. (Photo: Supplied to DRUM)

When Siphelo Msamo was younger, he dreamed of becoming a lawyer, but his mother, Nolusapho Velem, saw a different calling for his life. She wanted him to help others through social work. Due to financial restraints he never pursued that dream either. Even though being a lawyer or a social worker didn’t work out for him, 25-year-old Siphelo found his purpose in being a traffic officer.

Just before President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a national lockdown due to the fast spreading coronavirus infections, citizens flooded supermarkets buying food and essential items in bulk. And even though he did not have enough to do that for himself, Siphelo worried about what the homeless people in Cape Town would do since they have no hope other than begging from all the people who were about to self-isolate.

So he took matters into his own hands.

“These people have no shelter or food, their only hope is all the people who are at a more privileged position than them. So, I took the money I had been saving and filled trollies up with food for them. Not because I’m rich or because I want to be praised, but simply because of the pain I imagined they would go through,” Siphelo tells DRUM.

Siphelo Msamo giving food to homeless man. (Photo:

This empathy and heart for others is something Siphelo says he learned back at home growing up with his five siblings.

Their mother, Nolusapho, raised them in a small home with nothing but her earnings from baking and selling scones. Even in her struggling, she always taught her children the importance of valuing other human beings, no matter how much society sidelines them.

“The values I learned and will always keep from my mother are resilience, knowing the importance of others and always trusting God. So, I have no excuse; I have to do my part. I mean, when I moved to Cape Town, I lived in a shack, I still do, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t help others. God has given me a job and a roof over my head, why would I not share those blessings with his children?”

Siphelo believes while preachers and singers are called to do their part to minister to others, others, much like him, are called to help others.

“Being kind and helping others is a ministry not to be taken lightly, and I pray people realise that and start doing what they can too. Imagine how beautiful the world would be if we all just did what we can to make another person’s life easier?”

He gives to the less fortunate quite often, but this time, some people who always saw him doing these acts of kindness felt compelled to take pictures of him and share his amazing work.

“I felt a bit uncomfortable because now it seems I’m doing this for fame or I’m boasting, but that’s not the case. Some people come up to me and tell me they want to join me in helping others, I always tell them that joining me is not necessary, instead, they should just take what they have, go into the streets and help,” he tells us.

In future, Siphelo hopes to register a non-profit organisation and an orphanage that will help take people off the streets and into a shelter that will not only feed and clothe them, but also give them skills that will help them become independent.

“It’s amazing what a little independence can do for someone’s self-esteem and view of their worth, and if I can help provide that through the resources God has given me access to, I’ll grab that opportunity without thinking twice.”


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