Blikkiesdorp is a “temporary” settlement located in the outskirts of Delft. Most of the inhabitants have already been living there for approximately nine years, and a number of them were resettled there before the World Cup in 2010 started. People from the old settlement “Symphony Way” are living in Blikkiesdorp alongside people who were forced to leave their homes because of the World Cup in 2010. In total, between 4 000 and 12 000 people live in Blikkiesdorp. The crime rate is very high, and there is no public transport. The Minibus Taxis only offer a limited service in this area, so it is difficult to travel to find a job even when the people are willing to work. All in all, Blikkiesdorp seems to be a desolate place with little to no future, but it is a lively multi-cultural place.
Originally Blikkiesdorp was planned as a temporary “in between” camp for the people who were forced to leave their homes in the area “Symphony Way”; they were resettled by the City of Cape Town with the promise to receive a brick house in Delft within 2 years.
Blikkiesdorp is part of the Township Delft and is approximately 50 km away from the city centre of Cape Town. The real number of inhabitants cannot be assessed; the number varies from more than 4,000 to 12,000 inhabitants, among them approximately 2,000 children. This settlement consists of 1,800 shacks each about 3 m x 6 m in size. The inhabitants have to pay electricity in advance but they do not need to pay rent and the water they use is also free. In 2007 the City of Cape Town built this settlement in an area without any bushes or trees on sandy ground. At the moment, about 1,500 of the shacks are inhabited and the others have been occupied and are used at night by gangs and drug dealers.
The name “Blikkiesdorp” which means “tin can village” in Afrikaans was given to the settlement by the inhabitants. According to the City of Cape Town the setup of Blikkiesdorp cost more than ZAR 30 million. There are no sanitations or water pipes in the shacks, ablutions were built separately so the inhabitants of respectively four shacks have to share which means about 40 people are sharing one toilet. The delinquency rate in Blikkiesdorp is high and the living standards are miserable. Blikkiesdorp is one of the slum areas of Cape Town and the inhabitants, as well as the South African media describe it as a concentration camp. There was, and is still, a lot of criticism that the City of Cape Town could build such a settlement like this.
HOPE Cape Town placed seven containers in Blikkiesdorp where the HOPE Community Health Workers are based and where they can offer general medical help, support and counselling. HOPE Cape Town is trying to uplift the community through projects, like:
- Community garden
- Soup kitchen
- Cooking classes
- Nutritional workshops
- Social worker sessions
- Computer literacy classes
- Crafts workshop and social group
- Outreach of a local health care facility providing family planning and well-baby clinic services
- Support for the local soccer team – Blikkiesdorp United
These projects are aimed to give the people of Blikkiesdorp ideas to create their own income. HOPE Cape Town is the only remaining NGO in Blikkiesdorp and without our support there will be no Hope for a better future for the people of Blikkiesdorp. This project is sponsored by our long term funders “HOPE and Future e.V.”
As one of but a few sustainable community projects in this marginalised community, our Blikkiesdorp community project continues to have a positive impact on the resident’s lives.
Working in this community is challenging because of the high levels of crime and our container village has been burgled quite a number of times in 2014 and our electricity is regularly disrupted because of cable theft.
In October 2015 the Library and the Community Hall next to our containers in Blikkiesdorp were totally dismantled and all materials and content of both containers were stolen. This happened in broad daylight.
There is a diverse mix of people living in Blikkiesdorp, with a combination of different nationalities, religions and traditions. One of the main reasons gangsterism and crime have become rife in this area is due to the lack of a sense of community and solidarity. Since the beginning of 2015, residents have been even more concerned about their future, as there are plans to extend the airport and this will effect the settlement.