Tag Archives: Friendship

The Queens of “The Gardens”

The Queens of “The Gardens”

It was a cold a drizzling day when I met Megan and Cleo; two homeless gay men belonging to a group called “The Queens of the Gardens” because of their frequenting the famous Company Gardens, I shiver even though I am wearing a jersey and I can’t help wondering how cold these two young men sitting next to me must feel in their light tops.

Cleo is 19 years old and Megan is 20, they are both originally from Mitchells Plain where they grew up and got thrown out of their comfort zones because of circumstances they both attest that they couldn’t control, they have never met before they became homeless but their circumstances made them best friends. This makes one wonder if the lives we are living are something we can or cannot have control over.  As they share their stories with me I can’t help notice that they are bubbly and well-spoken even though Megan has told me that he dropped out of school and he can’t read.

Cleo ended up on the streets of Cape Town six years ago when he couldn’t take the instability in his family life anymore “my mother has never had a house of her own, and we have always been moving from place to place. Most of the time we were living her boyfriends and would have to move on when the relationship ended” he says with a glazed look in his eyes. He tells me that six years ago he and his mother were living with one of her boyfriends as usual when the man’s sister arrived one night and told him that it is about time he found a place of his own, that was not the only problem he faced this time; the man they were living with was intolerant of his sexual orientation and had very strict rules about how he was supposed to be a “man”. Cleo goes on to say on that very same night he packed whatever little he had and decided to move to the City with hopes of finding a job which turned out to be a rather difficult task for someone so young and who doesn’t have any education.  That is how he ended up living by himself in the streets until he met Megan a little later who became his friend not only because they share the same circumstances of being homeless, but that they both are gay men who have been rejected by society.

Megan who is a year older than Cleo and has been homeless for seven years was forced to go out into the cold streets of Cape Town when his mother and sister were shot in an unexplained incidence, and His other sister is also in Cape Town making a living as a commercial sex worker. He comes across as the stronger of the two and he is so well-spoken for someone who never had an education and his sense of humour adds to his aura. For someone who has no place to call home and depends on what people are willing to give him, Megan is very spiritual and very optimistic about life. If only he had an identity document he would be able to get a job and make a living but that is not the case as his mother was negligent and did not even bother registering his birth.

Cleo and Megan shared with me how they live by begging on the streets and having clothes given to them by total strangers while in the other hand some people tell them to go look for jobs when they ask them for money which ironically enough is not large amounts as all they need for a single meal at the soup kitchen, where the go three times a day is R1.50. They both share the same fear of something happening to them and Megan being the oldest is more concerned about Cleo’s safety than his own, “every night when he is not back or delayed in coming back to Bo Kaap where we spend the nights I cry and pray that he be safe”. What strikes me as interesting and dispelled my misconceptions of homeless people is that the two “queens” laughed and said not at all, but we do smoke cigarettes when I asked them if they do drugs.

Life is indeed very interesting but when you get to talk with the people who are experiencing something you have never imagined could happen in your life is quite an eye opening experience and how we take for granted all the things we have whereas there are other people who wish they could be us.

(picture by Simonia Mashangoane; Cleo, me and Megan)


Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


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If it is Haterade that you are drinking, sorry I’ll pass!

If it is Haterade that you are drinking, sorry I’ll pass!

A while back a close friend asked me why I don’t go out a lot, well I could have spent the whole day trying to explain why, I chose not to. But the question kept on making “circles and squares and all shapes” in my mind I decided to right the reason why I hardly go out, especially in the company of fellow gay guys. And what I came up with was one thing: HATERADE!

What is haterade:

  1. July 26, 2005 Urban Word of the Day: a figurative drink representing a modality of thought. Those who consume it are themselves consumed by the negativity which with they speak.
  2. noun; a fictional beverage, parodying the popular sports drink ‘Gatorade’, purportedly consumed by individuals who are jealous of others, supposedly fuelling their ability to be jealous of, or ‘hate on’, others.

Chances are we have all been guilty of “drinking haterade” once or twice in our live, but there are those who are chronically addicted to this “drink” that does us no good other than making us even more bitter.

Seriously, what does one gain by hating on others? I don’t think I know the answer to this, so like most of my questions, it remains another Million Dollar Question. When I look around, I see subtle evidence of someone who has been indulging in a spot of haterade. This can be that friend who tells me that so and so’s jeans are great but only if they fit a bit tighter or loose even another label. Or that so obvious addict who won’t even confide in a friend about their addiction to this drink, but will make sure that the person they are hating on can see or even feel it deep inside them that they are being regarded as nothing more than “pond scum” by the “hater” who will diss them in public, look at them like there are see through, or the hater might be brave enough to vocalise their hate which in most cases if not all is unfounded.

We tend not to like people for reasons that we can’t explain, it really does not make sense for me to say “I don’t like Joe because he wears cheap/expensive/baggy/tight jeans” yet some people find that as a reason good enough to justify their hate. Say someone were to hate you for the mere fact that you hate shaving, “like hello” it is your choice to not be friends with any sharp hair removal instrument. And other people take it further by hating on others because of the school they went to, the job they are doing. And these things do not make a better person like it or not. Your background, job and even salary bracket does not make you more or less of a human being.

As always, I have decided to wear my heart on my sleeve and make it known that I don’t hang with “haterade imbibers”. I just wonder if that makes me a closet haterade addict?






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Posted by on August 9, 2011 in Uncategorized


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I’m in “like” with you, but how do I tell you?

I’m in “like” with you, but how do I tell you?

Oh, how I remember the days of young love and “like”. The days when the boys I crushed on gave me a tingle inside my chest. The days when all I could think about was hanging out with them and sharing secrets. The days when all I was concerned about was liking him and not whether or not he had a job or good credit…

Of course, I wasn’t dating when I was 15, but that’s beside the point. What matters now is that you still have an opportunity to do these things—young crush things. Writing love letters may be a little too much right now, but you can be his friend and have a blast hanging out.

Here’s what you can do to get all the answers you need:

Make the approach. I’m assuming you guys aren’t already friends, so strike up a random conversation with him (about anything… yeah, anything). This will break the ice and you’ll see what kind of instant connection you two might have.

Make a date. Well, make a “hanging out” date. Invite him to check out a movie with you or play some ball or study together. Strike up more conversation to get to know him better.

Drop hints. During your “dates” (which aren’t really dates), bring up gay topics in the news or that one gay kid you knew in primary school or any other random gay topic. His reactions will help you figure out where he stands and, as an added bonus, will open the “gay” topic up for discussion.

Come out (when you’re ready). If you feel comfortable, let him know that you are gay. Try not to pressure him into coming out right then, but let him know that he can talk to you. If he’s scared he may back off, only to return later. Clear the air about yourself, but give him some space.

Let life take its course. This is the hard step for us impatient romantics. There are an infinite number of ways this crush can go. You won’t know for sure if he’s gay until he tells you and even then you won’t know if he digs you until he… you guessed it—tells you. In other words, you might as well be his friend, spend time with him, share you feelings, then chill and let things happen. All of your questions will be answered soon enough.

No matter how things play out, you’ll get some practice at approaching guys (which will be a huge asset once you get older… Gay men love other men who are brave enough to make the first move).

Well, my gay friend, I have to go off and check my credit report and you have your approach (and some dates) to plan. Remember, play it cool, ask him out, bring up gay topics, come out to him and then have the time of your life.




Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Uncategorized


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