Shipping containers are one of the most prominent features in most townships in the Western Cape, and are being traditionally used as facilities to house small businesses. However, a local company with a national footprint is on a mission to convince locals that shipping containers can be much more than spaza shops and salons. Limani Containers is a family run business founded by Makhi Dyani in 2014, who operates it with his two children. Dyani said that their goal is to show locals that shipping containers are the better alternations to brick and cement structures. “Depending on what you prefer, using a container is always more cost effective, more rigid and quicker to build. People often don’t consider containers as living spaces but they can be converted to many structures. As a result we have converted them into classrooms, clinics as well as Early Childhoo Development centres,” said Dyani. Limani sells and also converts containers for its clients all over the country with depots in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Bloemfontein and Joburg. Dyani said that despite initial apprehension, locals are certainly buying into the idea of alternative building material. “There are efforts in the country to turn to alternative building materials and we are happy that there are such developments. When you first introduce this idea to people there are reservations but I tell them that containers are quite customisable. We do the conversions at our premises and deliver and assemble at the site,” he said. Dyani said one of their biggest highlights is constructing classrooms for a school in Kraaifontein despite struggling to get permits to do so. “We had to prove ourselves to the City that the building is safe in terms of ventilation and even in cases of fires and we are happy that they have even allowed for the first time because it wasn’t easy. We have to set exercises to the fire department to show and we showed them that a fire situation can be manageable,” he said. Lungelo Dyan, who head special projects in the company, said that they have been spearheading the conversions of local crèches from shack structures to containers. “ECDs struggle with getting approval from the City and Social development because of their structures. So we teamed up with Ikamva to help convert their facilities. Another challange is that they foften don’t have the funds for the converstions so we decided to assist them get funding but getting companies to donate as part of their CSI initiative,” said Lungelo. The duo showed City Vision reporters one of their proud works at Isiseko Educare in X Section of Site B. There they built an administrative office, a kitchen two rooms as well as a toilet for the toddlers. Dyani senior said that the facility was safe, well ventilated as well as child friendly. “The building is easy to maintain as the container is the only foreign made material in the building. It is also easy to assemble and disassemble so if the creche changes locations we can come and place it at another location,” he said. Zameka Masawe, deputy principal at the centre, said that they were very happy with their new building. “We are quite happy and impressed with how quickly it was put together. Also it is very use friendly for the children. It is a great improvement to the shack structure that we had before. I give it a 10 out of 10,” she said coyly.