Despite there being a lot of poverty amongst people who are housed in government housing projects, some even still lacking in essential services, there is resilience and an optimism that is hard to beat amongst many of the African townships dwellers. These inhabitants are at most times, close-knit communities from various cultural backgrounds.
Many of these government housing projects could easily be mistaken for slums, yet they are habitable places with a town planning design. Government housing projects can be clustered and unkempt at times, but these uneven looks often add a unique dimension. The clean streets intersect the untidy ones and there are pot holed roads crossing over some tarred ones; still there is lacklustre ambience. Government housing projects are usually characterised by corrugated iron structures and other houses juxtaposing one another. There are paved walkways that lead onto parks and shopping malls.
They are turning into big cities with all amenities
There are some households where access to electricity is a luxury but construction work on roads and other properties continues to go on, with some of the more densely populated areas have infrastructures like good roads, sanitation and running water. There are also social amenities such as libraries, community halls, police stations, clinics, schools and malls.
Almost all residents receive their water through a regional or local water scheme and most households have flush toilets that are connected to sewerage systems. Many have electricity. Very few residents have pit latrines without ventilation and very few residents still use candles for lighting. Many of the government housing projects are situated in beautiful rural districts and there is some beautiful scenery from their main roads.
Street vendors create shopping malls
The streets are always teeming with people, including street vendors who sell fresh produce. There are hordes of young and old loiterers and passers-by who almost make the streets seem a little dangerous, with the clamour of roaring car engines and youth playing soccer in the streets, while others just go on about their daily business. A diverse group of people, comprising locals of assorted descent and foreign nationals who are endeared to the community all call these places home. There are many local dialects to be heard and they comprise an eclectic mix of Zulu, Sepedi, Xhosa, Shangaan and South Sotho, all embracing each other gracefully and living together reciprocally.
Many of these people are unemployed and some depend on informal businesses like carpentry, car mechanics, shoe repairs and fruit and vegetable selling. Many households do not have any income. Many people live in a state of dire poverty. Additional houses are being built at the cost of the national government. Despite all these challenges, locals have taken ownership of their community and there is a sense of ubuntu. People here are very much organized; in fact if you didn’t know it, you might even say they are related somehow, that’s what makes some of them seem so unique.
Hope and optimism drives them forward
Small businesses are the order of the day in many of the government housing projects and thriving very well it seems as if this is a boon for locals. Traders sell their wares and merchandise on almost every street corner, turning these into miniature malls, which supplement what might be an area’s only shopping centre. Spaza shops provide viable business opportunities, which are why they are omnipresent, as are car washes, cobblers and tailors and public telephones. Some have even developed a township lingo for small business operations on street corners.