Building affordable, green housing in a South African township | Global Ideas | DW | 18.12.2019
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Building affordable, green housing in a South African township

A young entrepreneur is constructing eco-brick homes to help solve a housing shortage in a township in Johannesburg, South Africa's largest city.

Watch video 06:43

South Africa: Brick replaces corrugated iron

Project aim: Creating eco-friendly, affordable housing in informal settlements

Project implementation: Moving families in informal settlements out of corrugated tin huts into homes built using eco-bricks, partly made of construction waste

Project scope: Social enterprise Hustlenomics has already completed six units with tenants, with a plan to build one unit per month from January 2020. Twenty-two unemployed youths have been trained as bricklayers and builders — 12 of them women

Partners: SAB Foundation, Red Bull Amaphiko Academy, SEED – Social Entrepreneurship Education

Project budget: 2 million ZAR (€124,000) received in competition money, machinery and as a low carbon SEED award since the launch of the business in 2015. The award is partly funded by the German Environment Ministry within the framework of its International Climate Initiative.

Located in the south of the sprawling metropolis of Johannesburg, South Western Townships —  Soweto for short — was once a settlement for workers in the nearby mining belt. These days it is home to over 2 million people, with around 10,000 new arrivals turning up each year — although exact estimates are difficult to come by.

Many newcomers to Soweto end up living in tightly clustered ramshackle huts that cost around €30 a month in rent. Through his social enterprise, young entrepreneur Nhlanhla Ndlovu wants to replace these tin shacks with eco-friendly, affordable housing.

Hustlenomics homes cost around €5250 per unit and are built using eco-bricks made from construction waste, and little cement. The enterprise is also training unemployed locals in building and bricklaying.

In 2019 Hustlenomics received the SEED Low Carbon Award, an international prize that recognizes climate efforts by small and medium-sized companies in emerging and developing countries. 

A film by Stefan Möhl

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