The place where we are doing the Desmond Tutu Community Build is called Mfuleni,  from the Xhosa word meaning “by the river”. This is a relatively new township about 40 kilometres from Cape Town, South Africa (about 1 hour by bus). It is a predominantly "Black" (African) township, although there are also some "Coloured" members of the community. [Wikipedia]

People started to settle in Mfuleni the 1960s, when it was a transit area for migrant labourers.The first houses were built in 1976 although 36% are informal shacks without water and electricity supply and 44% of the dwellings are houses or brick structures with a yard.

The unemployment rate is very high (over 40%) the employment focused in elementary occupations (42%). The average income of an Mfuleni household is in the R0-19,000/year (max. £55 per month).

Mfuleni is the base for a new partnership between Habitat for Humanity South Africa (HFHSA), The People's Housing Process (PHP) of the SA Government and the local community, to build 250 houses. The families in the community have been saving for close to 8 years, and we will use a combination of community savings, government subsidy and donor funding to build these houses.

Today about 25,000 people live in this community; the majority are black Africans (91%) largely from the Eastern Cape with the result that Xhosa is the predominant spoken language (84%), followed by Afrikaans (9%) and English (2%). The community has 2 high schools, 3 primary schools and 8 kindergardens with good attendance and a low drop out rate. Many people in Mfuleni have completed Grade 11 (42%). Extreme poverty (defined by the UN as people living on less than $1 a day) is not the only issue social issue in Mfuleni and HIV/AIDS is a huge killer.

Although it can still be dangerous in the townships, the local community are very supportive of the work that Habitat for Humanity does, and protect the community of householders and volunteers.