Blind busker back, making music
Written by Yazeed Kamaldien
Gospel-singing blind busker Lunga Goodman Nono was back on his inner-city spot yesterday after police broke his guitar, eliciting an outpour of support.
“I’m happy but my body is still sore. I’m going to take this money and go to the doctor,” said Nono yesterday.
Onlookers and passersby cheered him on and cash kept coming his way throughout his stint.
Police officers dragged him from his busking spot on St George’s Mall on Monday. They alleged he was playing longer than he was permitted to. The officers also broke his guitar.
Nono said: “They said I must go to the municipal court in October to face these charges. If I am found then I must pay R1,500. I can’t afford that.”
Capetonians rallied in support of Nono shortly after a video of the incident went viral.
Nono’s story also came to light. The father of two children has been busking on the same spot since 2008.
Nono lives with his wife Abigail and daughter Portia, 10, in Delft. One of their children lives with their family in the Eastern Cape, where they are from, as Nono’s R1200 monthly disability grant does not cover their expenses.
“I usually sing from 10am until 2pm everyday. The police said I must play from 12:45pm until 2pm. That’s not enough time to play music. I’ll be happy if I could play longer because this is how I can earn money,” said Nono.
He added: “I don’t know if the police will come back.”
JP Smith, the city’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, told the media that Nono had disregarded regulations and verbally abused police. He said yesterday that the police officers were being investigated though.
“We suspended one of the officers yesterday and the investigation continues,” said Smith yesterday.
“However, the busker was in violation of his permit issued by the economic development department. That said, enforcement of laws must happen in the context of respect for people’s rights through dignified treatment.”
Local support for Nono has grown though. Musicians have offered to record a song for him and someone who saw what happened to him gave him a guitar.
Businesses around him also stepped up to help. Groupon’s Yazeed Fakier said they “want to donate household goods, clothing, food and whatever we can to the value of R20,000”.
“We see Lunga almost every day and many of our staff knows him and often support him. We felt the need to do something and assist him not just for his career, but to make things a bit easier for him and his family. I was there when he got dragged away as well,” said Fakier.
Hadlay Attorneys, which has officers above the spot where Nono sits, said it wanted to defend him in the municipal court in October.
“We are right here. Even when we are consulting we can hear him. We don’t have a problem with him,” said one of its lawyers.