As the name implies, white squatter camps are make-shift homes where the less privileged white skinned South Africans dwell. They are poverty-stricken areas that lack basic amenities; but are still called home by hundreds of impoverished Afrikaans. These shanty towns were built during the post-apartheid era. There are about 80 white squatter camps occupied by the Afrikaans in South Africa. Usually we imagine that all the white South Africans are well placed but this is an eye-opener to the blunder.
A common reason that comes to mind for this development was the need to compensate the indigenous black south Africans who suffered greatly during the apartheid regime. Thus when the African National Congress (ANC) took over power, they made policies that concentrated more in granting employments to the blacks, as a sign of bridging the long deprived gap in empowerment and inclusiveness.
“Most kids here are happy. Some of them know the situation they are in. I don’t want to talk big about my kids but if I tell them there isn’t any money they accept it. But it is hard, I just want the best for them.”- Henrik, A squatter.
It is no fairy tale that times are globally hard and that makes the day-to-day reality of the likes of the inhabitants of these squatter camps twice as harsh. With the glaring challenges of low standard amenities; flood and recurring denial of health care and employment, the dwellers of these camps survive on less than £30 a month.
However when you are born into an environment as this, one thing is sure, there is a high level of the survival instinct, and as such, things that are supposed to pull you down, make you stronger and in most cases become ‘inconsequential’. Here functionality towers high above flamboyance and aesthetics. 56-year old Arie says that the best part of living in this area is that:
“Everyone stands together and tries to help each as much as they can. If you can help someone in any way, you try and do it. That’s the best thing about living here, it makes it bearable. It’s like living with your family staying here.”
Image(s): Daily Mail