Life in Cape Town’s most controversial informal settlement

Future of Marikana informal settlement in Philippi East in the hands of a judge

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Photo of water flowing through Marikaa
The “main road” of Marikana is a canal of stagnant water.

This week the court case to decide what will happen to Marikana informal settlement in Philippi East concluded. Judgment is reserved. 60,000 people are living on private land that they began occupying several years ago. The land owners want the state to buy them out or compensate them. The state is reluctant. Nearly everyone agrees eviction is not an option. On Tuesday Masixole Feni photographed life in the settlement.

“They live here not out of choice. They live here out of desperation,” said advocate Irene de Vos representing the Marikana residents in the Western Cape High Court. But even in desperation, there is hustle, bustle and great effort to make life tolerable and dignified.

  • Jason Williams and Dale Groep sell fruit and vegetables.
  • Shila Jubu sells corn that she says is imported from Zimbabwe.
  • Thabiso Tshepe sells fruit and vegetables at his brother’s stand.
  • Nomfuneko Sitwayi braais and sell chicken feet (with help from young Ndalo Sitwayi).
  • Sinoxolo Manyamalala, Langa Mthongana, Sakhile Gileyi, Ntsikelelo Sirata and Samkele France enjoy brandy at a friend’s home.
  • Luxolo Makhawuza has moved here from the Eastern Cape. He wants to do tertiary education this year.
  • Marikana is located in Philippi East on the Cape Flats.


TOPICS:  Housing Marikana Philippi East court case

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Write a letter in response to this article


Dear Editor

The suffering of good people in this beautiful rich country is really unacceptable. Please can the government wake up! Provide! We are all afraid for the next generation's future. Enough is really truly enough. My heart bleeds.

I love this country but we are ALL not in good stead.

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