Some 20 years ago, the South African government built over 3 million RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme) houses, each with a size of around 40 square metres. These were located in the former townships for the urban, socially disadvantaged population under the Reconstruction and Development Programme. These houses gave their inhabitants a sense of social advancement and stability. Due to legal restrictions on use, however, the houses are plagued by poor building substance. They also have a low market value due to insufficient links to employment and educational opportunities. Moreover, they are simply too small to offer families adequate living space.
The township of Khayelitsha, located 40 km east of Cape Town, is home to a predominantly socially disadvantaged black population group who have scant access to education, information and job opportunities. Thanks to huge efforts on behalf of the government and countless NGOs, the detrimental impact on the township have been partially mitigated. Nevertheless, poverty and the stigma of township life still seem insurmountable.
Under the motto "This House works for You!", simple and cost-effective extensions of the existing RDP houses will be developed in a workshop in cooperation with the residents, the neighbourhood and local businesses. The basis for this lies emerged from intensive discussions within the community and its dwellers.
Following a workshop with the inhabitants of Khayelitshawithin the framework of the "Better Living Challenge", a do-it-yourself construction manual was developed. This serves as the foundation for carrying out domestic extensions as independently as possible, using a simple construction method. Both residents and craftsmen are provided with the necessary knowledge to create a flexible and affordable extension using, for example, recycled materials.