PICS: Take a look inside the gang-owned buildings of Hillbrow

2015-12-10 11:01

Taken over buildings are a common feature in downtown Johannesburg.

Gangs take over buildings, chasing security out and putting themselves in charge, claiming rent.

Living conditions deteriorate quickly and often become hotspots for drugs and prostitution. 

Get a glimpse into the lives of those occupying the building below:


  • A man enters a bedroom in a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP)
  • A woman fills a plastic container with running water at the lobby of a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP)
  • Residents go about their daily lives at a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP)
  • The leader of the squat, Agmand smokes low-grade mandrax with room mates on in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP)
  • Three men sit in a room they share with seven others in a hospital turned into a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP)
  • People stand at the entrance of a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP)
  • A makeshift mosquee prayer room in a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP)
  • A young man enters his room in a hospital turned into a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP)
  • Muslim men pray in an ex-hospital's morgue turned into a makeshift mosque in a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP)
  • A woman sweeps the entrance of the room she shares with nine other people in a hospital turned into a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP) 
  • Two men talk in a room they share with five other people in a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP)
  • A man cleans a pan in a room he shares with four other people in a hospital turned into a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP)
  • A resident sleeps in a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP)
  • The leader of the hijacked building, Agmand stands at the entrance of the squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP)
  • A child runs down a corridor of a hospital turned into a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP)
  • A child plays in a corridor of a hospital turned into a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP) 
  • A man walks down a corridor of a hospital turned into a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP)
  • Three men share a room with seven others into a hospital turned in a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP)
  • A Young woman poses for photographs into a hospital turned in a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP) 
  • A child walks through a living-room in a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP) 
  • A young girl plays on her tablet in a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP) 
  • A man washes his clothes in a bedroom he shares with five people in a squat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. (John Wessels, AFP)
Read more on:    johannesburg  |  narcotics  |  crime

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