Things To Do in AthloneVictoria Mxenge Project
Where? Victoria Mxenge Project, Cape Care Route, Athlone, Cape Flats, Cape Town
When? By appointment only.
How? Call +27 (0)21 372-4206
How much? Price on request
Just south of where Lansdowne and Ottery Roads meet in Cape Town is the community of Victoria Mxenge, named after one of the heroes of the freedom struggle in South Africa, and one of the places to visit on the Cape Care Route. A highly successful project is based here where a group of women build their own homes, assisted by Abalimi Bezekhaya and the Homeless People's Federation.
Tired of waiting for the government subsidy, a group of women have learned skills in house building. Together they came up with a savings scheme as a way to provide finance for the project. And they can build three-bedroom homes of little bigger than 85 square metres for a little more than the price of a basic RDP house.
The project is part of the larger Philippi Triangle, honoured by the United Nations in 1997 as one of the four leading examples of people-driven poverty alleviation programmes in the world. What started as a development of 140 houses built by a group of 30 women who used to live in squatter shacks, has now grown into a project that teaches other women to start similar developments in their areas.
Over 50 000 homes have now been built as part of the Triangle, a three-phase development that included negotiating for land and paying for it, developing site plans, making bricks and finally building the houses themselves.
You can visit the project as part of the Cape Care Route, where you are welcomed into a couple of the women's homes for tea or a home-made meal.
A flower growing project, known as the Lilies for Peace Project, has also been established in Victoria Mxenge, where arum lilies, indigenous to the Western Cape, are grown for sale at the fresh flower market.