Opposite the Service Dining Rooms, on the land which slopes from Fruit and Veg City in Canterbury Street, a “Memory Terrace” built of hollow bricks, filled with compost, soil and beautiful flowers commemorates the lives of street people who have passed on.
Achmat Salie, who once worked as long distance truck driver but is now living in the street said: “It is a good idea that street people are being recognised and remembered by the community. We actually feel we are part of the community.”
Salie has lived on the street for close to 20 years. He survives from money paid by car owners who park in the area.
The project is part of a bigger plan to improve the lives of vulnerable people in the area through food gardening, tree planting and art. The project involves planting trees to offer shade to the street people and the cars they guard and includes a mural on the wall of the Fruit and Veg City store in Roeland Street designed by street people.
Next to the mural, a poem by Theresa Alexander, who has lived on the street for three years, will be inscribed:
Without hope there is no today
Without love there is no community
Without you we are nothing.
“It is our aim to create inclusive spaces that allow all to participate: people living on the streets, the business community, residents, even those that have passed on. The memory terrace also wishes to acknowledge the presence of District Six people who were forcibly removed,” said Jesse Laitinen, Khulisa strategic manager.