Meet Michelle... A Mom Who Had Everything But is Now Sleeping in A Car.
Photo Cred: I Have a nAme | Supplied

Michelle had everything. A husband, a home, and a plan to make it big overseas but now her family sleep in a friend’s car at night and are all just trying to survive the days.


Johannesburg, South Africa (08 March 2023) – “I have a name” is an incredible photo series showcasing everyday South Africans in the most phenomenal way. Proudly South African… one story at a time!

The stories are told by incredible South Africans… raw and unedited. It’s a showcase of humanness, a reminder that behind every face, is a name.

Recently “I have a name” featured Michelle… a mom who had everything but is now sleeping in a car. Her story could be any one of ours.

“The three of us have been sleeping in a friend’s car in Yeoville since the beginning of January. He parks it in a parking garage at night and gives us the key so that we can charge our phone with the ignition on and then we sleep there.”

Michelle’s story is tragic, but together, we can change that story… to better her life for herself and her kids.

“Once upon a time, I had a job, I had friends, a house, a husband, and two sons. In 2018 my husband and I had plans. We were going to move to Dubai. My health had taken a turn, though. I was bleeding a lot and had seen several doctors who suspected I had fibroids. I told my husband to go ahead to Dubai with our youngest son Richard and that I would follow him with our other son Isaiah when I was a bit stronger.”

The time that followed was straight out of a nightmare.

“I got very sick. I saw many doctors with conflicting diagnoses. I found out that my husband had another woman, and he never came back to South Africa and never sent for Isaiah and me.”

Michelle fights back the tears as she shares that she has not seen Richard in years, and her ex-husband has no intention of bringing him back to South Africa. Isaiah, her eldest son, has struggled developmentally since birth – he acts a few years younger than his actual age(14) but has the biggest smile.

“Tshepang, who is 15, is my late sister’s son, and he’s also in my custody. After my husband left and I was struggling with my health, I put some household things in storage and first moved in with my mother, and then last year stayed with a friend in East London. She had family that needed the space, though so we came back to Johannesburg in January so that I could try to find work since I had recovered and was feeling strong.”

Unfortunately, those that used to be my friends when Michelle had a home and money now shun her.

“What I really need is a room to call home for me and the boys. And for the boys to go to school. At the moment, we spend the nights in the car, and in the morning, find a place like a petrol station where we can freshen up and then spend the day wandering around and sitting in parks. I have a CV with references.”

“I was an Events Manager, have worked in call centres, worked in real estate with Rawson Real Estate, and was a Project Manager for various events working with celebrities and had some TV production duties. I just need to get back into the job market.”

Meet Michelle... A Mom Who Had Everything But is Now Sleeping in A Car.
Photo Cred: I Have a nAme | Supplied

How you can help:

  • Michelle’s email address is her phone number is 0739311246.
  • “I have a name” has put together her story on Project Purpose with interactive help links for those wanting to get involved.
  • Michelle is South African and has extensive work experience. Please have a look at her CV here.
  • Helping with Education: Tshepang completed grade 9 and needs to be in school instead of sitting on a park bench. He is a bright-eyed student with dreams of becoming a mechanical engineer. Africa House School can take him for his grade 10 year. School fees are R800 per month If you are able to help sponsor a month or more please click here.
  • Isaiah is going to need a special needs school- does anyone have contacts or recommendations in the Yeoville area?
  • Shelter/Housing Are there any people who have contacts for shelters for women and children? We need to get Michelle and the boys out of the car and into a more stable living environment.
  • It’s a long shot, but does anyone have a room for Michelle and the boys?
  • Michelle’s number is 0739311246 – without access to the internet finding a job is near impossible. Michelle is with MTN, some data or a pick and pay/checkers shopping voucher sent to her phone will be much appreciated in the short run.

MUST READ: Update on Michelle and how South Africans collectively changed a mom’s life!!!!

Sources: Kgopotso ‘KJ’ Mononyane
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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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