A year in a settlement created by Covid

Izwelethu informal settlement or Covid as it is nicknamed started with lockdown in March 2020

| By

A woman wades through Covid settlement when it flooded in 2020. She has hung clothes on a line above the water to dry.

Izwelethu (Our Land), also known as Covid informal settlement, is a land occupation outside Cape Town with what appear to be hundreds of shacks. It started in March 2020, when South Africa first went into national lockdown.

Community members say they need basic services. The City says it does not have enough funding to support infrastructure for all the numerous new informal settlements that have sprung up in the past year.

Residents smoke a hookah, from a hill overlooking the settlement.

Collecting water is a laborious process for residents in Covid. They collect water every day from a nearby community that has stand pipes.

Residents use the river for laundry. Children used to swim here too. The black wires are illegal live electricity connection.

Because of the pandemic, children go to school for only two or three days a week. Here some enjoy doing backflips on a discarded mattress in an open field to pass the time at home.

People collect water from this storm water pipe. They say it is clean enough for cooking and washing. They have to cross a busy road to access it.

Residents walk beside a river that runs alongside the settlement.

These two young men have jobs, but they don’t earn enough to pay rent, they say. They live here so that they can make ends meet.

TOPICS:  Covid-19 Housing

Next:  Cape campus shut down for three weeks over NSFAS payments

Previous:  Cape artists protest against lack of government support

© 2021 GroundUp. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and GroundUp, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

We put an invisible pixel in the article so that we can count traffic to republishers. All analytics tools are solely on our servers. We do not give our logs to any third party. Logs are deleted after two weeks. We do not use any IP address identifying information except to count regional traffic. We are solely interested in counting hits, not tracking users. If you republish, please do not delete the invisible pixel.