Bearing up for a long wait for housing

Bearing up for a long wait for housing

On a visit to Lindela transit camp in Clermont, outside Durban, Kethukuthula Lembethe discovers the hardships people are willing to bear in the long wait for decent housing.

It seemed to be a normal Saturday in Clermont; taxi’s hooting, people walking around doing their early morning shopping in the market and children playing in the streets.

Not far from the excitement and buzz of the town, at the bottom of a hill is Lindela, an isiZulu word that connotes a place of waiting or expectation.

From afar it looks not very different from a prison camp, but as you enter, the friendliness of the people tells another story. It’s a place they call home – for now.

Lindela transit camp, Clermont, 2014. Photo: Fred Kockott

Regina Khumalo was doing her laundry by taps and hanging her washing on the line, while her grandchildren played nearby.

She sees no problem with living at Lindela temporarily as she waits for her permanent home to be built.

But her fears about the delay in the starting of the building process leave her with not much hope.

“We are divided.We were together in the beginning when we wanted change, but now that the change is on its way, not everyone wants it,” said Khumalo, referring to the demolition  of homes where she used to live to make way for new residential complex.

A child at Lindela transit camp: Photo Khethukuthula Lembethe

This is not the only transit camp in the Clermont area. There are others where the people have been placed as they wait for their houses to be built. but people need to wait for the people registered on phase one of the project in Mhlabunzima, to get houses first.

Khumalo says she knew before she even started building in Mhlabunzima that she will have to move when the government tells her to.

“I built by house with mud and rocks because using expensive material would have been a waste when I had to demolish it,” she said.

Khumalo is hesitant about speaking about how she feels about the people who refuse to move to the transit camp. She fears there will eventually be a war between the people of Mhlabunzima who have left and those that are still there.

The transit homes are not very comfortable to live in but Khumalo and her family are willing to bare it until they have a home of their own, but it looks like it might turn into a long wait.

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Regina Khumalo. Photo: Khethukuthula Lembethe

  • This story formed part the Emapheleni housing case study, a research project conducted by Durban University of Technology journalism students and sponsored by the Taco Kuiper Trust Fund for Investigative Journalism. 

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