Church Mary Katherine Backstrom Love Lay-by Donated High School charity donation love kindnes - Informal Settlement Forum
Photo Credit: Supplied | On File

“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 the incredible South Africans… raw & unedited. It’s a showcase of humanness, a reminder that behind every face, is a name.

Many of the stories reveal a deep sadness, a realness of the harsh life some humans have to endure. Since starting this series, many have come on board to assist & it has been incredible to see.

“I have a name” would like to thank the many, many, wonderful generous people out there who have gone out of their way to cross bridges and make a difference…

Here are some recent updates:

1. Tshepiso’s schooling was sponsored by a big hearted donor

2. Elizabeth still does not have a better job. She received donations from various people, and had a few interviews, but her lack of English fluency has kept her from getting full time employment elsewhere.

3&4. Irene’s story touched the heart of many moms. Her little son Nati’s school fees have been sponsored for a year, and we are in the process of finalizing the communication with a nursery school in the area where she lives. Once he is in school she is freed up to start finding work.

5. Thapelo sent her CV out to various people. The feedback she got was that she needs to flesh out her CV and make it more professional. She’s taken that feedback to heart and is working on that, as well as trying to get a hold of an audio clip of her work at the Diepsloot radio station.

6. Jabulani’s story and his big smiling face got many people talking. There were lots of people talking about helping him pay to complete his drivers license, and I’m pretty certain that his newspaper sales increased substantially.

7. Maria was offered a wheelchair by the Northcliff Rotary. The Rotary gets second hand wheelchairs donated from the UK, and have been handing out wheelchairs for free for many years. A gentleman from the Rotary by the name of Dave met up with Maria and myself yesterday with a wheelchair in tow – turns out the one that she has now is also a Rotary donation – still has the sticker on it! She decided to rather keep the one she has now…maybe something to do with the fact there is comfort in the familiar. Dave gave her a business card and explained that she could contact him if it breaks.

8. Kiewiet is still sleeping on the street, but has a possible long term job offer in the pipe line. Someone gave him a phone with airtime and so he can now be reached directly on 0791419736

9. Ayanda’s little business has gained a lot more vetkoek customers – even some white customers much to his delight.

10. Joseph’s story moved many. Samantha Webster contacted him and found out that he makes wooden beads. He is going to be doing some work for her artisan business

11. Terrence got a new job in Honeydew. He phoned me on Wednesday and was so thankful to not be handing out pamphlets at the robots.

12. Sipho found a place to sleep off the street , he doesn’t have a work permit so finding employment is tricky – there were a lot of people who wanted to help him. There is a possible lead for a job and he is getting a cell phone today.

13&14. I got a very excited call from Lizzie this week – She and Paulina are now living in Thembisa – Barbara set them up with a bunch of clothing donations and their shop is thriving. Just before the big CEO sleepout, which lots of schools also participated in, Lizzie and Paulina were invited to speak to the students at King David School about what it is like being homeless. I asked Lizzie how it went and she said, ” Paulina and I started to cry a little at one point when we were talking about what it was like, and then everyone in the audience also started crying.” It sounds like they made quite an impact. The school is now also a source of second hand clothes for them. Lizzie has decided not to move to Capetown as she is doing well here now.

15. Caroline unfortunately went back to the bridge. Not every story has a happy ending, that is the reality of life.

I have a name

“I Have A Name” is a space where an anonymous photographer (we’ll call her J) is taking photos of everyday South Africans to showcase their incredible stories.

How do we bridge the great South African divides? Black vs white, young vs old, rich vs poor, men vs women? The divides that keep us from making eye contact with the beggar standing on the street corner, or the stranger in the lift.

CS Lewis said, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.”

Come with me on a journey…the stories and names behind the faces of everyday South Africans living their life in your neighbourhood, on your streets.

I think you will discover that we have a lot in common.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments or follow “I Have A Name” on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & WordPress to keep up to date with good news as it happens.

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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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