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- 14 July 2017

This year at GMSAF we started Barriers to learning Program. We are conducting a workshop for teachers and parents. I am doing school visits to those schools that we are working with. The purpose of classroom visits is to observe the teachers doing their lessons with their learners in small group teaching.

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GM South Africa FoundationFree Basic Housing


Following the success and limitations of the Missionvale project, the Sakhasonke Village was born. Making use of the former Walmer Caravan Park, the village was designed to accommodate families earning under R1 500 per month in a comfortable, economically viable, sustainable and community-focused housing development.

The aim was threefold:

  1. To maximize the use of land
  2. To minimize the costs of building materials
  3. To improve the quality of life and standard of living of residents by placing them closer to essential amenities, solving transport problems, and giving them more time and money for family demands.

All of these aims could only be achieved through densification. 

Essentially, a more holistic approach to the community needs was adopted, with issues such as security, social services, and emotional wellness factored into the planning phase.

The Walmer Housing Development Trust was appointed as the developer of the project and its partnership with Metroplan, the Urban Services Group, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality and the Department of Housing proved to be a dynamic force giving rise to one of the most effective and innovative housing models to date.


Following numerous meetings with the members of the community, as well as the use of scale models and a functional show house, Sakhasonke Village was completed in 2006.

The project features 337 semi-detached double storey homes, each with the capacity for expansion. Each unit is 46 square metres, with a footprint of only 23 square metres.

While the previous Free Basic Housing model required large pieces of land which could only be found on the outskirts of the city, this limitation was overcome through densification in Sakhasonke Village. Since it required a smaller piece of land, Sakhasonke Village was developed very close to the heart of the city. In addition to transport cost savings, this meant a greater integration of the community into the greater urban fabric. This in turn translated into a higher quality of life for residents.

The attractively painted homes are linked by brick walkways and cheerful gardens punctuate the communal areas. Residents are learning to maintain their homes, and some even manage their own vegetable gardens. A previously dilapidated ablution block was transformed into a community centre.

Shared amenities mean lower service costs and close proximity to places of work mean transport costs are reduced. Many residents can now walk to work, affording them more family time and more money in their pockets.

Security is a crucial factor in the poorer areas. The village is surrounded by a large wall, with only one entrance available. The public areas are well lit at night, and the proximity of neighbours is a comfort to residents and a deterrent to criminals.
The village is supported by a number of social services while emergency services are readily available to residents.
To address the issue of sustainability, a residents’ committee was formed to manage the village going forward.

The following awards speak volumes for its success

Sakhasonke Village, and its subsequent replication in other areas, has proven to be a vital step in the journey towards overcoming South Africa’s urban housing crisis.

Khanyiswa Madolwana, a resident of Sakhasonke Village, sums it all up as follows:

"Before I moved to Sakhasonke I lived in Motherwell. I have been working in Walmer as a domestic worker for 20 years. To be in time for work at 7.30 in the morning I would have to leave home at 5 in the morning. I would have to catch a taxi to Njoli Square in New Brighton. From there I would have to take another taxi to the city. From the city I would take another taxi out to Walmer. I would repeat the same trip in the afternoon. I earn R900.00 a month and I spent R315.00 a month on transport. I felt that I was working for transport! I now walk to work. I leave for work at 7 in the morning and I am home by 5 in the afternoon. I now also have extra time and money for my family. Life is a little easier now.”


In accordance with the overall objectives of the Foundation the minute details of the Sakhasonke Village project are made available for replication purposes throughout the country. 

Delegates from across South Africa, including engineers, planners, council officials and politicians, have been invited to Sakhasonke Village with the express purpose of replicating the model in their home areas.


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