Beggar wants to be left to himself

OWN WAY: Petrus Nkosi relaxing on one of the streets where he makes a living. © Sowetan.
OWN WAY: Petrus Nkosi relaxing on one of the streets where he makes a living. © Sowetan.

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

A man who sleeps anywhere in Mpumalanga's capital Nelspruit claims he is the street father of the city in the same vein as the street kids and does not want anyone to interfere with him.

Petrus Nkosi, 63, always wears the same old clothes and it is not clear if he ever washes or where he gets his food.

"I am the street father of Nelspruit and my pride does not allow me to tell anyone about my personal issues such as what I eat, where I get the food from and if I ever have a bath because all that is something just too personal to reveal," Nkosi told Sowetan.

"People should leave me alone because this is my life and I chose to live it this way because there is no other street father in this city. I am an exclusive individual," Nkosi said.

However, he did reveal that he sleeps anywhere - from a pavement to an old disused pipe, but does not have blankets.

Nkosi said he used to live at KaNyamazane, outside Nelspruit, but left two years ago to do what he called "something special". He would not say if he had ever been married or if he had children.

"I suffered a lot at KaNyamazane and had to leave. But believe me, I am not suffering here in the city because there are beautiful girls to wash my eyes just by seeing them," he said.

Calvin Msibi, who claims to have come across Nkosi many times, said it was surprising that Nkosi should prefer to become a "street kid" at his age. This was giving a wrong impression to the youth.

"I mean, how can an old-timer like Nkosi teach the youth that being a street kid is something special? He even proudly calls himself the street father of Nelspruit. That's very funny," Msibi said.

Shirley Mthimkulu, who has driven past Nkosi on several occasions while he begged from motorists on the streets, said she felt pity for him.

"He does not want you to know that he begs for his food from motorists every day and you can see he is suffering," said Mthimkulu.