South Africa's Housing Crisis - A Remnant of Apartheid

Residents of hostels and slums in Langa are demanding improvements in their housing and living conditions

By Sophia Hyatt

Songeziwe Nqoshela, 28, has no alternative but to sleep on the floor of the cramped single-bedded hostel room she shares with her parents, two sisters and son in Cape Town's suburban township of Langa.

The local authorities recently fixed a row of damaged toilets that had been abandoned inside a neighbouring building and which are used by the hostel's residents, but failed to fit doors, leaving those using them exposed to passers-by.

In a quest for privacy, Songeziwe says locals recycled old doors and painted planks to cover the entrance to each of the cubicles.

"The most difficult thing about living in one of Langa's hostels is the lack of privacy [and] the cramp[ed] conditions," Songeziwe reflects, "as well as the health and safety issues."