Two weeks after heavy rainfall lashed the Metropolis of Cape City, the Zwelitsha casual settlement in Dunoon remains to be ankle-deep in water.
Two winter storms brewed within the South West Atlantic and ripped by means of the metro in days. The strongest storm surges got here at evening whereas folks had been asleep. Throughout that point the Diep River close to Dunoon burst its banks and water settled into its pure catchment space.
That is the place folks constructed their shacks. They’ve been residing in Zwelitsha since 2019. It could have been named after a city of the identical identify within the Japanese Cape.
Residents stated at its highest, the flood water reached an grownup’s hips. One girl stated she awoke within the early hours of the morning when rising water brought about her fridge to overturn.
Nobody was injured throughout the flood, however residents stated they’ve misplaced blankets, furnishings, home equipment and, most significantly, paperwork such beginning certificates and ID books.
Gladstone Madolo was one of many a whole lot of individuals affected by the flood. He stated assist has been gradual to achieve them. Only some meals parcels right here and there have arrived. Dozens of individuals have discovered shelter below a tarpaulin tent, which they erected.
“For the reason that flood, our blankets and mattresses have been drying within the solar. It’s nonetheless damp. For meals, we take collections amongst ourselves and we attempt to purchase one thing to eat,” Madolo stated.
Zwelitsha, which is on personal land, was established after Dunoon grew to become too crowded. One resident stated she left her yard bungalow for extra space. Since then the variety of shacks within the new settlement have multiplied. Residents stated they didn’t know of the flood threat.
“We didn’t know it is a floodplain. It didn’t rain loads final yr. Now we all know. However we’re right here now, and somebody should assist us. We’re determined for a spot to remain,” Madolo stated. “We’d like somebody to assist divert the river.”
Flooding is an annual winter prevalence in lots of elements of Cape City. The poorest have little alternative however to construct their casual properties in areas which might be seasonal wetlands and floodplains. And when winter rains come, shacks are soaked from the bottom up.
Areas such because the Taiwan casual settlement in Khayelitsha, Brown’s Farm in Philippi and Kanana in Gugulethu are on a floodplain.
Aditya Kumar, the manager director of the Growth Motion Group (Dag), a non-profit organisation advocating for inexpensive housing, stated successive governments in Cape City have been unable to cope with the problem of housing and winter flooding.
“Throughout apartheid, most of Khayelitsha and neighbouring Mitchells Plain was constructed on traditionally wetland space that was crammed up with soil and earth to make in inhabitable, at the very least in sure sections. Areas like Taiwan casual settlement alongside the N2 is in a floodplain space and has been there for 20 years. Folks typically know the place they’re constructing however there isn’t any different alternative for them in the mean time. Folks know the dangers,” Kumar stated.
Dag stated the federal government would in the end have to determine whether or not to make land structurally appropriate for formal housing.
“Whether or not you’ll be able to develop this land is a query that must be answered. A number of these wetlands are misplaced now. A few of these environmentally delicate areas which have been invaded can’t be rejuvenated,” he added
Malusi Booi, the Metropolis of Cape City’s mayoral committee member for human settlements, stated the Zwelitsha settlement, like many others, is constructed on personal property, making it troublesome to each formalise and to supply with fundamental companies.
“Once we cope with invasions, folks assume we’re being disingenuous. However folks, I believe, exit of their solution to invade such locations. However we’re doing our greatest to verify persons are secure,” he stated
Booi stated town couldn’t construct formal constructions in areas which might be dangerous, however added it was offering assist within the type of emergency humanitarian assist, whereas catastrophe administration officers have been despatched out to evaluate the harm and to establish whether or not there’s any additional threat to folks.
Catchy casual settlement names honour world occasions and other people
Cape City has a brand new casual settlement, and it’s named after probably probably the most troublesome durations in fashionable historical past.
Welcome to Covid casual settlement alongside the N2 freeway close to Mfuleni. Established simply final week on vacant land, folks divided town’s latest space into two sections: Sanitiser, and Coronavirus.
Thabiso Ngwevu, the chief of the group of a number of dozen individuals who have constructed shacks on the vacant land, stated the identify is to recollect their battle throughout these troublesome instances, but in addition to indicate their want to keep up a bodily distance.
“The principle motive we selected the identify is that we had been yard dwellers, and through this time of Covid-19, we want our area, and we shouldn’t be residing so shut to 1 one other,” Ngweu stated.
The custom of historically-connected names of casual settlements is just not a brand new phenomenon in Cape City. And whereas theories might differ as to their origins, the institution of many of those settlements coincide with worldwide historic or new occasions.
Barcelona casual settlement in Gugulethu is claimed to have been established on the time of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. There’s additionally Kosovo, settled in 1998, on the time of the battle within the Balkans. Nearer to residence, the Marikana settlement in Philippi was established and named within the months following the 2012 killing of mineworkers within the North West city.
Divine Fuh, a social anthropologist on the College of Cape, stated the naming conference is a part of conveying oral historical past to coming generations, likening it to conventional African storytelling.
“It’s a method of archiving. We come from a continent the place our archives and historical past is oral. The way in which we think about and keep in mind is thru bodily objects,” Fuh stated.
Names will also be aspirational. The Siqalo settlement close to Mitchells Plain is isiXhosa for “new starting”. Fuh stated it’s a method for folks “transpose themselves into locations of hope”.
A number of settlements are named after political figures — Mandela Park and Samora Machel honour the African statesmen. Joe Slovo in Langa is in honour of the previous South African Communist Get together secretary common. Former Western Cape premier and now Democratic Alliance federal chairperson Helen Zille has additionally been remembered — Zille Rain Heights settlement in Grassy Park was named when folks had been evicted from a plot of land throughout the time she was mayor of the Metropolis of Cape City.