It’s a story that deserves to be told – and celebrated – more: the tale of a small group of impoverished, homeless women who grew tired of waiting for the government to build them houses, and did it themselves. A new book recounts the history of the Victoria Mxenge Housing Project, one of South Africa’s most remarkable and inspiring social movements.
Figures recently released by the City of Cape Town show that the number of shack fires which occurred in the Western Cape in 2014 reached just under 8,000, almost double the previous year’s 4,832. At least 20 people died in these fires, with countless others left homeless.
Those numbers are a reminder of how perilous shack living can be, as well as testament to the housing backlog in a rapidly-expanding city. That backlog currently stands at around 400,000, with a City of Cape Town report last February stating that the city was only able to build just over 6,000 homes annually based on its resources.
It’s a housing crisis that has been brewing for well over two decades, spawning frustration and protest, but also innovation. Dr Salma Ismail, of UCT’s adult education department, has just written…
Source : Daily Maverick