Cape Town's apartheid-era hostel dwellers want family homes

2018-07-21 09:30
Mkhweleli Shoco has lived in this hostel room for 36 years. (Thembela Ntongana, GroundUp)

Mkhweleli Shoco has lived in this hostel room for 36 years. (Thembela Ntongana, GroundUp)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories


WATCH: 'We are being forced from our homes in an apartheid fashion' - Bo-Kaap resident

2018-07-10 15:17

Situated on the mountains wrapped around Cape Town's city centre, Bo-Kaap is considered prime real estate and has investors and developers spending millions on property in the area. WATCH

Nozipho Mboniso has been living in a small room with her three children and niece in an apartheid-era hostel in Nyanga for more than 25 years, reports GroundUp. A few streets away in a similar building, 67-year-old Mkhweleli Shoco lives with his wife, Ntombisisi. He has been in the hostel for 36 years. According to the City of Cape Town, there are still 104 hostel blocks in Nyanga.

According to GroundUp, the hostel dwellers say they have been ignored by the City and want improved living conditions. In 2007 a number of them formed the Masiphakame Housing Project in the hope of getting funding for a People's Housing Project (PHP) from the City.

Mboniso is one of the project's members. She shares four rooms with two other families. One room is a kitchen. The ceiling boards in her bedroom are damp and collapsing.

"My son [who is 18] has to cover himself with a blanket or look away when I bath," says Mboniso. She works three days a week as a domestic worker. Her youngest child gets a social grant. Her eldest son started a new job two weeks ago.

"My dream is to find a place where my children do not have to share a room with their mother … But I cannot afford that. All I can do is wait and hope," said Mboniso.

Shoco and his wife share a single room with their two children and four grandchildren. There are two bunk beds in the room. Two other families stay in their hostel unit and they share a toilet and a kitchen.

Ownership, privacy

When he first moved to the hostel from the Eastern Cape in the early 1980s, he says, "It was just men staying here. But things change and we have families and these living conditions are no longer feasible... I have no privacy and have to share a room with my children and grandchildren. You bath in front of people or they must go out."

Zekulunge Mantshontsho, who has been living for 30 years in one of the hostels, says members of the Masiphakame project "want to decide what we live in because it is us who will be living in these houses, not the City of Cape Town... [We] should have an input on the houses that we want."

"We do not want CRUs (community residential units). We want the hostel to be made into single houses where people can have ownership over their houses and the privacy that they have not had in years," said Mantshontsho.

He said all the residents qualified for subsidies, were on the housing list and wanted to work with the City.

However, councillor Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for urban development, said: "PHP housing cannot be accommodated" because the City wants to "accommodate the maximum number of tenants with minimum or no displacement".

He said: "Any plan other than council rental units will result in massive displacements which will disadvantage some of the current occupants and result in an unfair outcome.

"The City plans to transform the hostels into family units that will mainly be allocated to the current hostel tenants," said Herron. He said the City was in the process of appointing consultants to do the design work. Currently, the final ten units of the iLinge Labahlali Housing Cooperative are being constructed.

Read more on:    cape town

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.