Today we walked to the Hibberdene shopping area to buy the last couple of things before we leave on Friday.
While we were in the Chinese shop, a policeman came in. I didn’t hear all of the conversation but from what I did hear, there was a naked man in the back of the police van.
“Naked, naked. Kaalgat,” he said to all nearby and added another word in a language I didn’t understand.
He wanted to buy some cheap clothes for the man. The Chinese owner seemed hostile. Perhaps she had had unpleasant experiences of the police before. She seemed affronted that the police wanted to buy in her shop. Nevertheless she showed the policeman the clothes on sale. He held up a grey, long sleeved top and was looking for pants when we left the shop.
I was impressed. With all the negative media hype, here was a policeman doing his duty but also showing compassion for another person who was possibly homeless, a criminal or drunk. I don’t know whether he was planning to pay for the clothes from his own pocket or whether he thought the SAPS would foot the bill. In either case, I was reminded of Jesus’ words, “I was naked and you clothed me, … Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:36,40b)