I met Tumi a year ago and we became close friends. She often lives here with me on the street. She sometimes go home and stays for few days but is always back. She shoplifts to support her heroin habit. She has been on it for almost 10 years  and has been arrested three times since we became friends.

Tumi is a mother too. She has a teenage son who lives with her mother in Khayelitsha. She is also staying there at the moment because she recently came out of prison after being arrested two months ago. Last week she came to see me and tell me about what happened, and said that she thought it best that after speaking to me she should going straight home. Guess what? She did the opposite and went back to using. She looked so clean and healthy and had gained weight during her time in prison.

She sat with me so that I could do another portrait of her. I’m not happy about her smoking, but she is as stubborn as I am and there’s nothing I nor any one else can do to make her stop. Her words are “I am a heroin addict and that’s my drug of choice and it wont change”. Thats how we left things this morning and I’m worried but at the same time pissed off.


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