Families who were evicted from Cato Crest in Durban have cleared space in a nearby forest to build themselves Ekhenana – a “Place of Hope”. Though they have been evicted several times they say they are prepared to “die” for their new homes.
The last eviction was on Tuesday and soon after the land invasion unit had left‚ the residents quickly put up their homes again.
They were evicted from Cato Crest‚ where they had been renting shacks‚ in order to make way for a new road. In August they set up home in the forest nearby. According to the Ethekwini municipality‚ the land belongs to the provincial department of human settlements.
The community lives from hand to mouth‚ gathering and sharing building material and food. A central area is a communal cooking area. One man who calls himself the chef prepares vegetable soup for lunch.
“They kick us out like dogs. They don’t even recognise us as humans. They even destroy the food we cook and throw sand everywhere. Without even engaging with us they demolish and burn our homes and leave. We are only good for votes‚ nothing more. We have no jobs and no land‚” says resident Wiseman Buthelezi.