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'I’ve been building houses for 25 years, and I’m still living in a shack'

Humans of New York is currently in Johannesburg, going around various undisclosed locations, chatting to ordinary South Africans.

A builder and businessman from South Africa featured on Humans of New York. Picture: Humans of New York Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - A black South African builder and businessman has related to the Humans of New York blog how, despite his efforts over a quarter of a century, he is still living from hand-to-mouth.

Humans of New York is currently in Johannesburg, going around various undisclosed locations, chatting to ordinary South Africans.

Brandon Staton, one of the blog's owners, had a recent interaction with a man (names of people are rarely revealed on the blog) who says he used to be a criminal in the days of apartheid but left his life of crime to become a businessman at the dawn of democracy.

However, despite trying to make an honest living, his business is hardly making any money as government only gives opportunities to a select few.

"I grew up thinking that it was a good thing to rob the white man. Everyone fought injustice in their own way," the man says.

"I did everything I was supposed to do. I’ve worked in construction for the past twenty-five years. I started my own company. I followed all the procedures. But nothing has come of it.

"The government always talks about empowerment. They make a big show of letting small businesses compete for contracts. But the jobs always get awarded to the same few people. If the government gave me work, it would empower me.

"... I’ve been building houses for twenty-five years, and I’m still living in a shack."

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