Photo Credit: Supplied

Bradley Freeman spent years sleeping in De Waal Park. Today, he runs his own business and can take care of his family. Here’s the story of the hand-up that changed everything:


Cape Town, South Africa (14 September 2023) — Today, a life of sleeping in a park and roaming the streets of Cape Town almost seems like an alternate reality for Bradley Freeman. Still, despite those chapters of his life having closed, they are still an important part of his story—one that reminds us why second chances are sometimes the most important ones.

Bradley (43) is no stranger to second chances. A former homeless man, Bradley shares that he slept in the City Bowl’s De Waal Park and roamed the streets of Cape Town not for a few weeks or months; but five years.

After going to rehab, his determination to survive led him to a second chance, despite knowing employment prospects would be tough.

“When you come out of rehab you don’t know what to do because you need cash to survive and a job, but who will employ you?” he shares of the catch 22. 

However, instead of letting this conflicting pair of circumstances determine his future, he decided to follow up on something he heard about from someone else—applying to Taking Care of Business; a non-profit enterprise that’s changing what empowerment looks like in South Africa!

TCB, started by two incredible Traceys is more concerned with giving a hand-up over a hand-out with a model that equips people in dire circumstances with skills, the opportunity to put food on their own tables and business knowledge to fuel their own futures independently.

Bradley worked hard at TCB’s Repair programme where he was taught to repair appliances like fridges and stoves. Slowly but surely, two years went by and Bradley’s dreams of not just living above the poverty line but running his own business, became a reality.

For Bradley, it was more than a programme that helped cover the essentials or paved a path to a better future where he no longer calls himself homeless but a successful businessman. It was a journey that looked inward too—one of the most important parts of any big life leap.

“The journey at TCB helped me to integrate myself back into society. They taught me many things, but the most important part was that they work with your inner emotions and why we do the things we do.

“I’m just glad that today I can walk with my head held up high and be an example for many others in my community also struggling with the same issues, to show them that it can be done.”

Thanking the teams who gave him a second chance:

“Thank you for giving men and women like me a chance to be better citizens. I’m a product of this idea. I’m doing so well in my life right now that as a man I can actually support my family and be there for others.”

Bradley graduated from the Informal Small Business Programme this year and stands tall inspiring others to bet on themselves.

You can help people like Bradley make their second chances count even more by donting working or damaged appliances like fridges, freezers and microwaves or stoves at a nearby TCB branch.

Sources: Supplied 
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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