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Getting Gabriel Going

Getting Gabriel Going

Personal message

My name is Vanessa, I'm an Independent Travel Consultant with a strong social conscience. 

It is my complete passion and belief that there's more than enough for everyone in this world - we just need to share the "love." This is my firm belief.

By 'chance' (though I don't believe in coincidences) Gabriel Mamba Kasonga crossed my path while I was on my daily morning walk; his humble and gentle demeanour affected me. There was something so sad about his grey and white spotted pyjama pants and his massively oversized blue coat. 

Having lost all income due to Covid, I had little to give besides the odd R50 or some food. I asked around if anyone could help him and soon he had shoes, pants, toiletries, underwear, and a puffy K-way jacket. When I noticed a few days later he didn't have the jacket, my heart broke when he said he had to sell it as he was hungry and needed to eat. 

I decided there and then to help Gabriel from the DRC, with both the soul and the name of an angel.

Dana Lazerson started feeding him daily. Our first breakfast (as a treat for him) was on a Wednesday at Knead and it's now become a weekly meet-up; that's where I first heard his story.

Gabriel cut short his Optometry studies in 2008. Due to the outbreak of war in DRC  & financial struggles that ensued, a group of them were trucked over to SA as asylum seekers. He worked steadily mostly in security for 7 years, renting a room in a Maitland. After getting sick, losing his job, being unsupported with renewing his asylum papers, having his bank account frozen, and being put out on the street due to not being able to pay rent, he found himself homeless...and he's been on the streets since 2015! 

Instead of sleeping, he'd stand ALL night against a wall outside Caledon Square police station, for safety, and during the days he'd sit on a bench to rest his weary legs. He did this for 5 years - mind boggling. 

He helped Somali traders at 4am and again at 6pm pushing their trolleys for R20/day. This job was 'coveted' by many homeless, & they envied Gabriel.

In 2019 on his way to 'work' at 4 am, 2 guys ran up to him and stabbed him repeatedly in his neck, torso, arms - I've seen his horrible scars.  He clambered to the Caledon Square police station, where he was rushed to Somerset hospital. After a week there, he was back existing on the streets of Cape Town.

When Covid struck, all the homeless were relocated to Safe Spaces. Gabriel didn't want to go there, so he chose to be homeless in Sea Point. He would just walk up and down the beachfront from sunrise till sunset, where he'd sit overnight on a bench outside the Sea Point Police Station. 

I got him off the street and into the Youth Solutions Winter Program in Salt River - a mattress to sleep on but shelter from the harsh winter evenings regardless, until Sep 28.  I got him a MyCiti card to bus in/out daily to also give him a sense of dignity and belonging to the city.


His transition from day 1 to now is remarkable - the pictures speak for themselves!  Brittany (a FB stranger) bought him thermal underwear, an adult colouring book and felt tips.  Teresa gave him toiletries and bags of food & Dana specially cooks for him daily. A beautiful joint effort by strangers.

Gabriel had a normal life before - when we fetched his possessions from Maitland, I saw bags of clothes, shoes, an alarm clock, a Tin-Tin book, a Dictionary, his payslips, bank statements, etc. This man had a normal life with dreams of a better future, who has since had to endure horrific hardships, yet always wears a smile and blesses everyone. He's a real earth angel who is a living example of having faith and endurance. 

He's currently in Mojo hotel in a hostel room where he had his first hot shower in 5 YEARS! He sat on his new bed grinning like a Cheshire Cat :)  From there it's an Emergency Travel Document issued in JNB and then onto a flight to Lumbumbashi - we just need to raise enough funds.

Hopefully, this campaign will create awareness about the homeless plight - one so easily judges 'another' homeless person carrying all their possessions in one bag - but everyone once had a 'normal' life. 

It creates a feeling of humanity and puts a story to a face - this could happen to anyone who loses everything. It will change Gabriel's life so much - I'm praying he can be reunited with his family who literally don't even know he's still alive! 

The impact of this campaign will be that Gabriel could continue his studies and potentially fulfill his dream of being  an optician. A Sea Point optometrist gave him a reduced rate for an eye test and a pair of readers - Gabriel's eyes have sadly deteriorated rapidly from street living, but now he can easily read his phone! We are so grateful.

The emotional stress and trauma he's had to endure must have had a profound effect on him. He no doubt wants to just feel human again and be part of a safe and loving family unit. When he was kindly offered a job here he smiled and softly said, "I just want to go home." 

He's still young at 36 and can have a whole life ahead of him. He has parents, 7 siblings and had a girlfriend Susan back home - how amazing  if they could all be reunited. 

Gabriel is a good man who bears no grudges nor wallows in self-pity, but rather just aims to get by each day and does so with his angelic smile.

"What comes from the heart goes to the heart."

Breakdown of costs:
R10 000 - set up his life in DRC
R4 000 - accommodation costs in Cape Town
R2 000 - clothes
R8 000 - air ticket to DRC
R1 000 - land transport to Lubumbashi
R2 000  - a ticket to Jnb and taxi to DRC embassy
R500 - Emergency Travel Document to get home
R3 000 - food and goods to take home

Donations

  • Nov 05, 2020 - R 500.00
  • "

    Heartbreaking story and good luck for your journey back home

    " - Shirley

  • Nov 02, 2020 - R 400.00
  • "Angel at work - thanks Vanessa & all the best to you Gabriel!" - anonymous

  • Oct 28, 2020 - R 200.00
  • "

    Many blessings

    " - Susan

  • Oct 27, 2020 - USD $ 61.53
  • "Good luck" - The Altmans

  • Oct 26, 2020 - R 900.00
  • "

    All the best back in your homeland God bless

    " - Adam

  • Oct 25, 2020 - USD $ 12.36
  • "In loving memory of my kind, selfless father who taught me If you can be anything in this world .. be kind. All the best Gabriel. " - Cindy Myers

  • Oct 25, 2020 - USD $ 30.89
  • "Wishing you a better and better life" - Simone

  • Oct 25, 2020 - R 200.00
  • "My Tartlet!! You are beyond amazing to take this on. Gabriel - all the best to you for the future. x" - Chantal

  • Oct 24, 2020 - USD $ 50.00
  • "To getting the life you deserve back Gabriel. " - Jaron Dean Cate

  • Oct 24, 2020 - R 300.00
  • "Bless you V-an earth angel-and well done! Hopefully Gabriel will be reunited with his family soon." - Jax

  • Oct 24, 2020 - USD $ 30.89
  • "I am an optometrist, I hope you can continue your studies " - Allison

  • Oct 24, 2020 - USD $ 50.00
  • "His life teary made me teary... you are an angel Vanessa! " - Alexa

  • Oct 24, 2020 - USD $ 99.26
  • "Read your story to Mr I. This is from him:) " - V and I

  • Oct 23, 2020 - USD $ 50.00
  • "May you find happiness and peace back home " - Taryn Shani

  • Oct 23, 2020 - USD $ 61.33
  • "Wishing you a safe reunion with your loved ones. " - Melanie Rubin

  • Oct 23, 2020 - USD $ 99.26
  • "Prayers for Gabriel! V, you are a true angel and an inspiration! " - Lola + Jagger

  • Oct 23, 2020 - USD $ 61.33
  • "You guys are amazing. Very humbling " - Tanya

  • Oct 23, 2020 - USD $ 30.66
  • "God bless, Gabriel and your earth-angels. " - Chemdat

  • Oct 23, 2020 - USD $ 12.27
  • "I hope Gabriel ultimately makes it home, to be with loved ones." - Kentse

  • Oct 23, 2020 - USD $ 122.65
  • "Making a difference V! Xoxo so honored to call you a friend " - Ryan-Sisi-Demi

  • Oct 23, 2020 - R 100.00
  • "

    All the best, Gabriel.

    " - Claudette

  • Oct 23, 2020 - R 100.00
  • "

    God bless

    " - Adam

  • Oct 23, 2020 - R 200.00
  • "

    Good luck Gabriel

    " - Candice julia Hogg

  • Oct 23, 2020 - R 180.00
  • "

    Keep going Gabriel and Vanessa. You will get there!

    " - Diane Brenner

  • Oct 23, 2020 - USD $ 19.89
  • "Sending love!" - Marisa H

  • Oct 23, 2020 - USD $ 200.00
  • "G-d Bless, Gabriel and thank you Vanessa! " - Melissa Raphaely

  • Oct 22, 2020 - USD $ 150.00
  • "Wishing Gabriel a secure future. And lots of love to you and your heart of gold, Van." - Gabi HM

  • Oct 22, 2020 - R 1 000.00
  • "I hope this can help a small bit " - Tayla

  • Oct 22, 2020 - R 100.00
  • "Wishing you a fresh start." - Sue

  • Oct 22, 2020 - R 222.00
  • "On behalf of my Pops who always called me Florence Nightingale :) Hope you don't mind me spending your shekels Pops - it's for Gabriel :) :) xxxx" - "Frankie" (the late and great)

  • Oct 22, 2020 - R 500.00
  • "Gods blessings for you and Gabriel. Praying he makes it home soon and safely." - Bartholomews

  • Oct 22, 2020 - R 180.00
  • "Wishing you all the best in getting home safely Gabriel " - Marlene

  • Oct 22, 2020 - R 200.00
  • "The future is yours Gabriel. Safe travels back to your family. God Bless." - The Wilson's

  • Oct 22, 2020 - USD $ 60.98
  • "Well done Vanessa! I lost my brother Wayne Fouche and I know that he would have wished Gabriel all of the best! Good luck Gabriel! " - Tonia Kreft

  • Oct 22, 2020 - R 100.00
  • "

    All the best Gabriel

    " - Sharon

  • Oct 22, 2020 - R 100.00
  • "

    Well done V

    " - Jeffrey

  • Oct 22, 2020 - R 180.00
  • "Wishing you well on your journey Gabriel " - Anonymous

  • Oct 22, 2020 - R 200.00
  • "Let’s get you home! " - Denise Schoeman

  • Oct 22, 2020 - R 500.00
  • "xxx" - N

  • Oct 22, 2020 - USD $ 24.39
  • "Good luck Sir, with Gods grace you will achieve all of your dreams " - Karen MV

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 500.00
  • "Good luck Gabriel! " - Megan Harvie

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 200.00
  • "For Gabriel and his angels " - Caroline Benson

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 200.00
  • "... for your new life Gabriel! " - Nicky

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 150.00
  • "Best Wishes for your future x " - Niki

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 180.00
  • "In memory of Malcolm Siegel. May Gabriel be able to live his life the way Malcolm lived his. Wishing Gabriel success & happiness !!!!!" - Shaggy

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 500.00
  • "Love & Prayers, Good luck Gabriel." - Candice roffey

  • Oct 21, 2020 - USD $ 12.10
  • "May this be the start of a beautiful chapter for you Gabriel" - Nicola

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 200.00
  • "Wishing Gabriel all the best - I really hope this all comes together " - Tanya

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 200.00
  • "best of luck Gabriel " - Liesl Cloete

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 100.00
  • "Wishing him well." - Wendy Dietterle

  • Oct 21, 2020 - USD $ 12.10
  • "All the best Gabriel " - Anon

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 200.00
  • "I will keep you in my prayers and hope my small donation can assist " - Tamarin

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 200.00
  • "Heartbreaking !!" - TK

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 100.00
  • "Wish I could give more Gabriel - your story has touched my heart ! May the power of unity take you safely back to the arms of your loved ones " - Angelique Steyn

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 200.00
  • "In memory of Malcolm Siegal x" - Kirsten Kasten

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 250.00
  • "I hope you find peace and a wonderful life back home. I am sorry for what you have had to endure. Travel safely!" - Nadia Reynders

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 100.00
  • "Good luck " - Liz

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 1 000.00
  • "Good luck - Hope this succeeds quickly !" - SF

  • Oct 21, 2020 - USD $ 60.49
  • "Best of luck 🤞 " - Mandy briner

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 200.00
  • "Good luck " - Good lucj

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 200.00
  • "I wish him well and thank you Vanessa" - Mandi Sabbagh

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 100.00
  • "R Smith " - R Smith

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 1 000.00
  • "Xx" - Leigh Bortz

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 500.00
  • "Keep your head held high." - Wendy

  • Oct 21, 2020 - R 1 000.00
  • "Xx" - J

  • Oct 20, 2020 - USD $ 21.89
  • "R360 - 2 x the amount of Chai/Life (R180). Which is R180 to spend on packing up his old life here, and R180 to spend starting his new life in the DRC! Amazing initiative -well done Sister :-)" - Emma Levin

  • Oct 20, 2020 - R 500.00
  • "All the best Vanessa and Gabriel! God bless. " - Nemalini Tsai

  • Oct 20, 2020 - R 500.00
  • "Vanessa you an absolute ANGEL assisting Gabriel to get home. May Gabriel be reunited with him family and friends soon with the amazing help you giving him." - Cindi

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Statistics

Donations to date

R 36 497.99

Fundraising target

R 30 000.00
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Gabriel Kasonga Support Cause

Gabriel Kasonga Support Cause Logo

Vanessa Frankal from Cape Town is raising funds to support Gabriel Mamba Kasonga (36) from the DRC.

 

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