Strand / Nomzamo

Nomzamo/Lwandle is a township bordered by the communities of Strand and Somerset West, about 40km east of Cape Town. Originally it was conceived of as an area to house “single male workers” during the apartheid years, in a type of accommodation known as “hostels”. The actual hostel structures were built in 1960 to accommodate about 500 male migrants who mostly came from the former homelands in the Eastern Cape such as Transkei and Ciskei. These men mostly came from the former homelands of Transkei and Ciskei in the Eastern Cape, working in farms and the fruit canning industry and other surrounding areas. (Wikipedia).

In the intervening years, the township grew and is now a quite sizable suburb with a population of over 60000 people (2011 Census). Within this suburb, there are a variety of types of houses, including government-funded RDP homes and also “shack” dwellings. In 2014 the City of Cape Town forcibly removed many people from their shacks along the N2 highway in a violent confrontation, but then soon changed course, and rebuilt some of the shacks on another plot of land. A portion of the rebuilt shacks can be seen in the photos below.

There is a clear land buffer (supplemented with fencing) separating the wealthier housing of Strand from Nomzamo/Lwandle. Many of the rebuilt shacks exist within this land buffer. It seems to me that existing in this “middle space” reinforces the notion of living on the fringe, alienated and/or marginalized. With the help of an aerial view it becomes easier to understand how extremely difficult it must be to remove one’s self from this type of situation.

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