South Africa: As Urban Inequality Deepens, It's Time for a Reality Check

(file photo).

Cities are the engine rooms of economic growth and wealth creation, and draw in millions across the globe who know that even if their lives will be hard, this will be coupled with some free basic services and some better options and personal choices, including who to vote for.

Durga Devi (not her real name) lives in Madanpur Khadar, a so-called resettlement colony in the south-east district of Delhi which is the product of thousands of slum dwellers being evicted from the city of Delhi in 2002 for the Commonwealth Games (the eviction was from the surroundings of Nehru Place to accommodate the development project of a metro station and a new market complex).

Fourteen years later, Durga Devi lives in a typical 12-yard (about 10m2) unit with her two remaining young adult sons, her daughter having married and moved out. In her humble abode are a cot bed, two-plate stove with a gas cylinder, modest shelving and altar, a massive air conditioning unit and a bright red mid-sized fridge with a small TV atop it. Durga Devi glumly informs us that she loves the fridge, which was donated to her, but that it doesn't actually work. And the AC...

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