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Upgrading Lives: In Cape Town Informal Settlements

Upgrading Lives: In Cape Town Informal Settlements

by Nicky Milne

A third of Cape Towns 3.7 million people now live in slums, or “informal settlements”, with limited access to basic services, such as water, electricity and toilets. Shack fires are frequent - and deadly - as residents rely on candle light and firelight. 

At night, a bucket under a bed is the only toilet, as fear of deadly crime prevents people walking a distance to a toilet. 

In Flamingo Crescent, a settlement of 400 people, the inimitable  "Aunty” Marie has been instrumental in bringing about change and transforming the lives of her community. After years of development, working with Cape Town City and NGOs,  Flamingo Crescent has been 'upgraded;’ each shack now has its own toilet, tap and electricity supply.

22 km away in Santini settlement, the community were due to upgrade this year, but local politics has spurred community debate and the project is at a standstill. Most hope their homes will be upgraded this year. 

As 900 million people now live in slum conditions world wide, with limited access to basic facilities, this film explores how lives can be changed: Flamingo Crescent sets a precedent for global slum redevelopment.