Extension ten informal settlement is located on the outskirts of Tsakane informal settlement near Duduza. It is a vast informal settlement with over five hundred shacks and families who have been eagerly awaiting to be allocated RDP houses by the government. Majority of residents came to the area from various sections of Germiston town. Many have lost hope of ever getting houses.
Amongst residents are to elderly ladies who have been sharing a residential stand for years hoping to each get a house.
Talita Nkosi aged 78 and Aslina Nkosi aged 73 are sisters. All they have is each other. They came to the informal settlement in 2007 and each built a shack. Their children have since relocated from the informal settlement to make lives for themselves elsewhere.
The ladies’ shacks are so small as they could not afford to build them any bigger. The shacks which are now old, leak and the ladies say they are very cold at night and equally hot during the day. Talita lost her husband in January and she has lost hope of ever getting a house. Her husband had promised to build a bigger shack for them from his pension money. But he died before honouring his promise. Now that he was no longer there, Talita says she feels hopeless.
“It was a dream for both of us to have a bigger and better house. Now that he is not here everything seems meaningless,” she says.
Not a day goes by without thinking about her husband, she says. Now all she has is the small shack he built for her and her sister whom she chats to about old memories.
Talita who can no longer walk very well says she used to go to the local Municipal office to check for her house but every time she came back disappointed.
The two sisters rely on an outside toilet which they share with another family and they must fetch water from an outside tape.
“Its not easy for old ladies to live in small shacks with no water, toilet or electricity,” says Aslina.
She suffers from arthritis although she sometimes walks to fetch firewood for herself and her sister to light a fire at night.
Aslina says other people have been allocated house and they moved from the informal settlement while she and her sister were left behind.
“We thought the government would give priority to the elderly, but it seems younger people are the ones who are getting houses,” she says. She now hopes to get a house which she and her sister can share.
“I know that we may be old but having a house would make me and my sister very happy,” she says with tears in her eyes.
Community representative, Bobo Kenke says, “The elderly in our community should be prioritised and given houses. Many are unable to look after themselves. They need houses with toilets, electricity and water to make their lives easier.”
Story by: Kimberly Mutandiro.