Amos is a bit crazy which is a result of long-term homelessness, being hit in the head with a brick and methylated spirits. Because he’s mentally challenged and can sometimes been seeing talking to a street pole or crying uncontrollably on a street corner, he’s one of the few adults (as opposed to children) i will occasionally help.
I’ve known him for over 4 years – he’s as much part of my Knysna as the Estuary and loerie birds (which have been lacking lately). I first encountered him in League Street where i stayed for 2 years. He’d be living in the bush between there and Grey Street. More recently, many trees got cut down so his ‘home’ has gotten smaller and, because he sometimes gets chased, he also sleeps in corners along Grey Street, near Action Ads and FNB. Sometimes in Fichat Street.
To survive Knysna’s wet winters he must have the constitution of an ox but lately i can see him feet-shuffingly getting older.
I can’t teach him to stop calling me, ‘Master’. For some reason my name eludes him but he lights up when i see him and always starts with the words, ‘I’m hungry.’ He says that all the time, even when he’s got food in his hands.
I can’t help him everyday and i’m fully aware that he’s the stinkiest vagrant in town but i’m hoping that when next you see him, you’ll give him a banana or half a loaf of bread (anything soft). He’s often in Main Street and appreciates the R6 takeaway coffee from Silver Sweetie at the entrance to Knysna Mall (you should try it too).
After i took his photo, and showed it to him, he made me laugh quietly the way he said, “Jura, I’m ugly.” I sobered up when he followed it with, “The bush has made me an old man.”