iShack - upgrading housing in South Africa

From Global development | The Guardian Tue Dec 25 2012, 04:00:03

Stellenbosch University researchers are using solar power to improve life in a large informal settlement near Cape Town

Christmas has come early for the Mthalo family. While their neighbours in the unserviced Enkanini informal settlement shuffle around in candlelight, Lungiswa and Victor Mthalo and their two children expect to be sitting in front of their new flatscreen television - powered by a solar panel on the roof of their shack.

Although the South African government boasts that it has built 2.8m homes in 18 years, it finally had to concede defeat in 2012 over its lofty ambition to give every citizen a bricks and mortar house. A revised programme, Breaking new ground, shifts the emphasis to "in situ upgrading" of housing, including 400,000 shacks. The Mthalo family's iShack - "improved shack" - is an attempt by a group of academics to demonstrate how this can be done in an environmentally friendly way.

"The best thing about having solar power is the time it saves me," says Victor, 28, a painter who built his shack in Enkanini in May 2011 after his sister, who lives in a brick house in neighbouring Kayamandi township, could no longer accommodate him. "I bought three metres of zinc sheeting from the hardware store and built myself a shack," he says. "But I regularly had to go over to my sister's place and spend three or four hours charging my mobile phone."

[view whole blog post ]
 See More    |     Report Abuse


You might also be interested in the following news stories:

South Africa:   R1 Billion to Support Black Industrialists (news)
SAnews.gov.za
27 March 2015

The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) is to avail R1 billion in support for the Black Industrialists Development Programme, said Minister Rob Davies. [read more]

Afrique du Sud:   Le d├ębat se poursuit autour de la statue d'un colon (news)
Radio France Internationale
27 March 2015

En Afrique du Sud, cela fait trois semaines que les étudiants manifestent pour demander que la statue de Cecil John Rhodes, érigée devant l'université du Cap, soit ... [read more]

South Africa:   SAIIA Submission to Inquiry On Rhino Horn Trade (document)
South African Institute of International Affairs
26 March 2015

South Africa is facing a rhino poaching crisis. One of the proposed policy mechanisms to address rhino poaching was the establishment of a Committee of Inquiry to deliberate on matters relating to a ... [read more]



blogAfrica is allAfrica.com's platform to help you keep an ear on the African blogosphere. We draw diverse voices from around the world who post regularly and insightfully about African issues. Bloggers, submit your blog's rss-feed!