South Africa: “Unwilling politician” – Carlos Mesquita of Good Party on the personal fight for the rights of the homeless in Cape Town

He believes his chances of winning the election are slim, but for Carlos Mesquita, the Cape Town Ward 54 candidate, the real victory would be to change the public’s perception of the homeless community.

Carlos Mesquita was taken on the streets of Cape Town by the record company boss for five years when he lost everything to substance abuse. He is now running for council in Sea Point, the same area where he made his living.

“I am one of the few people who have had the experience of having a home and being homeless,” Mesquita told DM168.

We met him at Sea Point on a sunny afternoon. There are no exact numbers of homeless people in the area, but estimates put it in excess of 800. More than 14,000 people live on the streets in Cape Town.

The young Mesquita was a high-flyer whose drive was driven by deep insecurities. “I had a Portuguese mother and a Spanish father. I was called a ‘Sea-ka ** ir’. People didn’t accept me as white at school.”

He also struggled with his sexuality and was derisively nicknamed “Nancy Drew”. When he was in his early 30s, he had opened a successful music business …

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