Soekina Newman is a 62-year-old cancer sufferer who absolutely dreads the winter and the damage it causes to both her health and her dilapidated one-bedroom shack. The flimsy structure is made out of freezing cold zinc, is uninsulated, and offers little protection from the harsh winter elements. As night falls, and temperatures plummet, Soekina must walk out in the cold just to use the communal bathroom, situated on the other side of the informal settlement in Hout Bay, Cape Town.
The worst part is when her threadbare clothes and possessions get washed up in a deluge of rainwater, which floods her home.
It happens almost every winter, and the wet clothes make her even colder and worsen her health. “I cannot afford cancer treatment, but I try to keep myself warm during winter. I can’t remember the last time I had a nice full meal,” she says.
Soekina’s story is by no means the only one. Nearly every street corner and every informal settlement across South Africa has another person just like Soekina battling to survive the brutal cold with nowhere else to go. This winter, share the warmth with people like Soekina so that she too can see through the winter months.