Informal Settlements: Exercise in Dehumanisation

2014-09-15 17:12

Recently I visited an informal settlement and I was shocked at the conditions I found at the settlement.

The students from the Nizamia Islamic School in Pietermaritzburg undertook an outreach programme at the Jika Joe informal settlement in the city. The previous weeks saw this settlement experience devastating fires that destroyed the basic needs of the victims.

It was very depressing to witness fellow human beings living in such degrading conditions.

Living in an informal settlement is an exercise in dehumanisation. It is one of the worst realities that anyone can experience in society. The lack of healthy food, fresh water, sanitation and proper housing can lead to a variety of diseases and social ills.

It is a well-known fact that South Africa has one of the most unequal wealth distribution in the world. The hiatus between the haves and have-nots continues to grow.

The levels of both inequality and unemployment in South Africa are amongst the highest in the world.

There are no simple answers to the inequality and high poverty levels in our country. It requires an effective collaboration between government, businesses, policy-makers and the broader South African society.

It is the duty of the haves or the affluent to make meaningful contributions, and not just dole hand-outs only when a catastrophe befalls the disadvantaged. They must be sincere in their bid to improve the lives of all South Africans.

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