The shacklands on the outskirts of Cape Town, along the N2, are bit by bit transformed into uniform dwellings. Often commented on, photographed and published about, their transformation or the lack of it, has long been used as a political football or, as happened just the other day at Cape Town International airport, to make a stink. Shacklands are a people’s manifesto – breaking free from the limited comforts of their rural traditions and seeking to integrate themselves into the complexity of life in the city, even be it on the fringe for a while with its own restrictions, discomforts and potential dangers. Shack fires from overturned braziers, paraffin stoves and most of all, unattended candles, happen all too often devouring neighbouring shacks in minutes. All then is lost, if not lives, the bare necessities of living. Comes winter, flooding occurs in the lower lying parts. In summer, the heat inside can become quite unbearable. But there are also some pros among the cons beside a lack of modern sanitation, you pay no rent, the structures are easily erected and extended, and there is the community at large with many neighbourly hands to share any burden. As you whizz past theses shacklands on the highway, you spare a few moments to consider where people live.
Tuesday, 16 July 2013
Colleen & Walter