While the National Arts Festival means increased profits for many Grahamstown residents, it means hard times for the citys street children.
“The Festival has nothing for us ever since it moved to Rhodes because the security guards don’t want to let us in, so we can’t look for jobs or make money there,” Andile Booi told Grocotts Mail last week.
A familiar face on High Street, the boy claims the police are against them and stop and question them if they are seen talking to students. He says the police assume they are bothering the students.
Andiles friend, Mzanele Salese, also hustles year-round, organising car washes in New Street for an extra bit of cash. “We used to organise lifts for people on our donkey carts around town, but the police stopped us from doing that, he says.
The boys hope to sell clothes at the Church Street market, which is laden with stalls selling a wide variety of goods. Their attempts at being entrepreneurs have been steadily squashed since the Fiddlers Green market closed, they say.
There, they could easily get into the grounds and make money, but security limits their access to the Rhodes Great Field, the new location of the Village Green. They say they plan to help lost visitors find their way in return for a a gift of generosity.