WATCH: Language of the streets

POLOKWANE –  This was revealed in a recent investigation to find out where homeless people sleep and how this is marked and communicated to other homeless people.

A few street dwellers spoke to Review, explaining how they decide where they will spend the night and how they let others know not to take their spot.

According to Johannes Mabalulela, a homeless man living on the streets of Polokwane, a common sign homeless people use to mark their territory is a pile of rocks or stones stacked together in a park or other area.

“We have a code that we work with, the stones show where people sleep, and when people look for an open park, they see it has been taken by the stones,” Mabalulela said.

He says when new homeless people come into a city or a town, they will go in search of parks and meet other homeless. The newcomers will then find out which areas are taken and where they should go in search of a place for them to settle down or at least spend the night from the homeless people they meet.

Mabalulela says as some of the people travel between towns and cities, they talk and spread the word about available spots. Adding that some people put up signs on trees or electrical units to let others know a certain area is off limits.

Mabalulela was reluctant to share any more details, saying some of the signs people put up are used to indicate criminal activity.

“Most of us just need a safe place to sleep and have developed our own communication systems,” he concludes.

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Riana Joubert

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