Where are the Homeless supposed to go?

Watching Dear Mandela gave me an insight of what life is like after Nelson Mandela counting shacksbecame president. Even if people were excited and happy for the governmental change in South Africa, the country still had a lot to work on in the country. A huge problem in South Africa is the housing conditions.

Many poor people have nowhere to live and had no choice but to settle down on governmental land. People are desperate and they would do anything just to have roof over their heads. They basically put anything they own to build a little ‘house’ with walls and a roof and these ‘houses’ are called the shacks. Living in the shacks are not easy, not only because the are constantly worried of eviction, but also the spreading of diseases; living so closely together.

shackThe proper term for shacks is “informal settlements“. It is obviously not their right to stay on somebody else’s land, therefore the government tries to stop the people from moving there and instead evict them from their shacks if they actually do move there. In 2007 the Slums Act was created and was basically a plan to eliminate the slums progressively. The government sends  “Red Ants” over, which are men in red clothes, to tear the shacks down.

There are certainly two different perspectives of the issue. I understand that the government cannot legally allow number systempeople to stay on property that is not theirs, and it is fine if they are working on decreasing the amount of people in the slums. But is it really morally alright to evict the homeless people from the only place where they live?

And also – are they expecting to decrease the amount of people in the slums by evicting them?

Where did they expect them to go?

From the perspective of the people living in the shacks I understand that they are disappointed. The government does not live up to what they promised, and they must feel like the government do not want them well – nor like they want to help them at all. I think it is morally wrong to tell people that things will get better, kick them out of the only “house” they have, and then not really do anything else about it. A woman in the movie also said that right before the elections, the government made promises to the people in the shacks for better living conditions, and then after every election they did not keep their promises. Therefore I changed my opinion about the party a little. It was interesting to see a different viewpoint of it.

I think that people thought that as long as Nelson Mandela was going to become president everything was going to be fine. I think that they thought that they were going to notice a difference due to the new government overnight, but obviously that could not be the case. It takes time to change.

The last couple of things said in the movie was “you must die with credibility” and “don’t be just an ordinary man”. I thought those words were very powerful and I think that is what many young South Africans grow up hearing and believing. People realized how much they can change a society and their living situation if they just put enough effort into it. I think that even if South Africa may not be perfect nor have the perfect government just yet, the youth and the people in South Africa know they  are the future and can change and have an impact on society.

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