Stanley Currie, the 66-year-old Irishman who was reported missing in South Africa, has been found, disorientated and destitute, on the streets of Johannesburg.
The search for Currie lasted ten days. Spearheaded on South African soil by the local Community Crime Watch organisation, and assisted by concerned family members back in Ireland, the extensive social media campaign aimed at locating Currie proved fruitful on 7 January.
Looking for love on the wrong continent…
Currie left Dublin on 28 December, bound for South Africa in search of a woman he’d been communicating with online for over two years. It’s this romance which proved to be Currie’s undoing. While it is not yet clear whether Currie made contact with the mystery woman, the Irishman’s brother Richard suspected that the meet up was all part of an elaborate scam, when first raising the alarm on Stanley’s disappearance. Richard explained:
“On the 28th December Stanley boarded a flight to Johannesburg on a ‘one way’ ticket to meet this person.
He hadn’t booked any accommodation over there, was carrying a large amount of cash. He suffers from depression and has got heart health problems.
This ‘person’ who he was going to meet no one from the family have any idea who ‘she’ is and we are obviously concerned that it is a scam.”
Concerned relatives lost contact with Currie on 30 December.
The Irishman has since been located and is heading back home to his family, albeit out of pocket, a bit more sunburnt and traumatised following his harrowing experience on the mean streets of Johannesburg.
While the South African Police Service (SAPS) has been mum on the details relating to Currie’s disappearance, local crime fighting agencies, along with the Irishman’s own family, have been forthcoming.
According to Steven King, chief executive of the South African Community Crime Watch, Currie was discovered approximately 15 kilometres from O.R Tambo International Airport, in the Johannesburg suburb of Edenvale. King added:
“He was a little hurt by the sun and disorientated but he is OK and he spoke to his family over the phone earlier today and they were overwhelmed to know he was OK.”
Edenvale Community Police Forum (ECPF) chairperson Sheryl Damerell revealed more details of Currie’s disappearance. According to Damerell, Currie intended to stay in hotels around Edenvale but was soon out on the streets after losing all the money he had brought with him.
It was on the streets of Edenvale where the luck of the Irish seriously began to wane. While living on the streets, Currie was mugged of most of his belongings. He was eventually found sleeping under a tree – destitute, dehydrated and confused.
Heading back to Ireland
Currie’s relatives, relieved and thankful that Stanley has been located unharmed, have started a crowdfunding page with the aim of raising funds that would be used to get the Irishman back home. Currie’s crowdfunding page on justgiving.com reads:
“We’re raising £1,000 to help get Stanley Currie home from South Africa after he was mugged of all his belongings, passport and money. We need to put Stanley up in a hotel until his emergency passport can be got and we get him home as soon as possible (sic).
He has been walking the streets of South Africa for a week with no food or water and is currently receiving medical care.”
Indeed he is lucky to be alive…
By: The South African