A STREET-DWELLER WITH A FLAIR FOR STYLE … AND MYSTERY.
SNEEKY: Nazier peeks around a corner to avoid capture. But what's he trying to hide?
The image you’d expect of someone who gives up their worldly existence to live on the street in a religious protest against a Godless society is of a person who is humble and even somewhat shabby.
Therefore it came as quite a surprise when upon meeting Nazier, (he preferred only to be known by his first name) I noticed him wearing a very luxurious looking jacket.
He told me that it was cashmere, and as I shook his hand I grabbed the jacket’s cuff with my other hand and felt that, indeed, it was cashmere, probably the finest of its kind I’ve yet encountered (and I should know, I own several cashmere garments myself).
As impressed as I was with his jacket, I however got the distinct impression that I probably shouldn’t touch it again, apparent by the way he yanked his arm away from me and the stone cold look he gave me, a look no person would appreciate getting.
From then on, an uneasy presence permeated my entire session with Nazier, a warning that I may have to leave the issue with the jacket alone.
Nazier explained about his life growing up as a poor kid in the streets of Bo-Kaap, a tight-knight and predominantly Muslim neighbourhood situated close to central Cape Town.
“We were very poor,” he confessed. “Many nights my sisters and me would go without food. We’d have to go ask neighbours for food.”
He talked about being somewhat mischievous growing up, often running around the streets of central Cape Town with his friends doing naughty things, like stealing emblem badges off parked cars.
But he also had a side of him that yearned for more than his lot in life. He revealed to me that there were times while on the streets when he would walk pass a glamorous boutique store window and admire the wealth and luxury on display.
“I used to stare at those mannequins and wish I was under those bright lights wearing those fancy clothes. I didn’t care that my friends teased me about it, I resented being so poor and not being able to have things.”
However, as he grew older, he increasingly began devoting more of his time and energies into his spiritual life and his Muslim faith, and noticed that his craving for worldly possessions waned.
BUSTED: Sam Hart has to move fast to catch the slippery Nazier.
That is, until the arrival of Project H. “When Project H started, everyone became richer and happier, and I liked it,” he confessed. “I wanted to be a part of it, but I was battling with staying true to my faith, and in my community, if you abandon your faith, your family and friends abandon you.”
So when the Radical movement began, Nazier begrudgingly followed, living in poverty on the streets while watching the glamorous world that was his for the taking just pass him by.
Despite my reservations, I couldn’t call myself a proper journalist if I didn’t get clarity on the issue with the jacket.
I asked him how he could be in a position to acquire such genteel apparel. He said he didn’t know. I was puzzled, but before I could reply, he storms off, ending the interview.
I tried to arrange a follow up, but I am yet to find him. Even the people who know him haven’t seen him since.
They mention catching glimpses of someone with a cloth wrapped around their head, wearing the same jacket Nazier was last wearing.
But before they can look again, he’s gone!