Informal Settlements in South Africa: Imizamo Yethu

Imizamo Yethu is a so-called “informal settlement” – an euphemism – in Hout Bay, a small town in a valley on the Atlantic Seaboard of the Cape Peninsula twenty kilometres south of Cape Town.

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Informal Settlements in South Africa
A woman fetches water in Imizamo Yethu.

Imizamo Yethu: An Informal Settlement in South Africa

In Imizamo Yethu, 20’000 to 30’000 people live in a 18 hectare area with little or no infrastructure, two-thirds of them in informal dwellings and shacks. Many of the shacks do not have electricity. Only 19 percent of people have access to piped water in dwelling. Rain often moistens the shack interiors as the roofs are leaky. Landslides threaten the top shacks on the hill when winter brings heavy rainfalls. Unemployment rate is high (between 40 to 60 percent), and alcohol and substance abuse are major problems. There are many liquor outlets and bars. HIV and tuberculosis prevalence is high.

Informal Settlements in South Africa
In Imizamo Yethu, 20’000 to 30’000 people live in a 18 hectare area with little or no infrastructure, two-thirds of them in informal dwellings and shacks. Many of the shacks do not have electricity.
Informal Settlements in South Africa
After a heavy rainfall.

Informal Settlements in South Africa
After a heavy rainfall.
Informal Settlements in South Africa
Seven year-old Simphiwe at home after school.
Informal Settlements in South Africa
Nomvuzo has returned to her shack after work as a home help.
Informal Settlements in South Africa
Nomvuzo and her fiancee, who works as a taxi driver, have two children: 7 year-old Simphiwe, and 1 year-old Elona.
Informal Settlements in South Africa
Nomvuzo picks up her 1-year-old daughter a Elona t the daycare center.
Informal Settlements in South Africa
Nomvuzo and her daughter on the way home from the daycare center.
Informal Settlements in South Africa
A bar in Imizamo Yethu.
Informal Settlements in South Africa
Imizamo Yethu.

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