Yesterday was the most transformative day to date. I had the opportunity to visit the Sustainability Institute and the informal settlement of Enkanini.
Informal settlements are basically areas that South Africans have started building makeshift homes on land available to them. During apartheid entire neighborhoods were forcibly removed out of the city and into an area outside of the city into an area referred to as the Cape Flats.
The Cape Flats stretch for miles and are probably the most inhospitable place a person in this area could live. These shacks and settlements stretch for what looks like as far as the eye can see. Around 5 million people live in Cape Town, it is estimated that around half reside in these types of homes and areas.
I had the privilege to tour one of these settlements outside of Stellenbosch. Enkanini houses around 4500 people. There are 32 water taps, 80 toilets, and 7 waste ships to serve all of these people.
I was able to talk to researchers about some of the solutions and innovations that are being done in Enkanini to help alleviate some of these heavy problems. But it is an ever-going process.
Seeing the way these people were forced to live was hard to fathom. But the hardest thing to grasp was the fact that most of these people are not living in poverty according to economic definitions. Most have the financial means to afford a better lifestyle, but the city’s structure, real estate and construction costs force people to continue to live in these makeshift homes.