20 March 2018

South Africa: A Place Called Home - Tensions Boil Over in Gugulethu Over Land Squeeze

In tension over housing and land, Gugulethu residents recently built shacks on vacant land to protest against the lack of adequate housing. Some residents set fire to a car that was parked outside the popular Tshisa Nyama, Mzoli's, and looted a supermarket. The City's anti-land invasion unit razed their shacks. But backyard dwellers are making it clear that they have had enough.

A Google Maps search of Gugulethu reveals how congested the yards in the township are.

In 2016 Mayoral Committee Member Benedicta Minnen said that more than 80,000 people live in backyard dwellings in Cape Town.

Cheryl Jonas is just one backyard dweller who has grown tired of living in these subhuman conditions. She is 49 years old, unemployed and lives in a shack with her parents, brother, sister, their children and her own children. The family's only source of income is the grant her parents receive from the state. Cheryl has lived in Gugulethu her entire life.

All three generations of Jonas's family live in the same backyard and her siblings have built themselves ihokie. These are small back rooms, usually made out of zinc and mud. Jonas said: "Kudala nda applayela...

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