The township of Masiphumelele is one of the many huge slums of the black population in the south of Cape Town, South Africa. Masiphumelele is a Xhosa word and means “Let’s succeed”. Various estimates suggest that well over 40,000 people live there.
The people there often live in tin huts without running water, which has to be fetched from one of the water points. This is also where the public toilets are located, which the families have to share with many others.
Long-term unemployment, inadequate schooling, illiteracy, HIV disease and alcohol problems are just some of the factors that make it difficult for families to escape poverty. According to a recent international study (PIRLS), 78% of 4th grade students in South Africa cannot read. There is a lack of suitable material, qualified teachers and supportive homes. Many children are without supervision after school and have no opportunity to do their homework.
Many thousands of people have built their huts in a swampy moorland at the edge of the township because there is not enough land in Masiphumelele. As soon as it rains, the huts and the few belongings of the inhabitants are under water.