A River of Hope

“The skills that I’ve learnt… First of all, let me tell you the thing that you don’t know. This was the first time for me to work with the construction, but even now with Habitat and Robert, I have built my own house! Ja, I started with my own hands – without hiring anybody, because of Robert and Habitat.”

– Andile Magidigidi, Crew Leader, Mfuleni

In isiXhosa, Mfuleni means “river.” Like a river, Mfuleni has never been static or still. The community is relatively new, having grown from an inflow of new inhabitants from neighbouring townships in the 1990’s, and is now home to over 20 000 households. Although Mfuleni is located only 30 kilometres from Cape Town, its residents face many challenges accessing the opportunity and prosperity of the urban hub. Despite these issues, the vibrant community is a current of hope and creativity. In Bardale, an area in Mfuleni where our event is being held, many of the residents are elderly, disabled or economically vulnerable persons. They have advocated for and secured land tenure and are now finally realising their dream of owning a home for the first time.

In partnership with local construction companies, VHP, Nokhanya Services and Sbu-Leno, and together with the Western Cape Government, Habitat for Humanity SA has built 531 houses in Mfuleni since 2007. Homepartners have been mobilized to participate in the housing development process. Before each build event, local residents are recruited to be trained as Crew Leaders, Block Leaders, Car Guards, Logistics and Parking Marshals to support volunteer events. Many of these residents continue to use the construction skills that they learn to build and renovate their own homes themselves.