Upgrading Lives: In Cape Town Informal Settlements

Upgrading Lives in Cape Town's Informal Settlements

One third of Cape Town's 3.7 million residents live in slums, or “informal settlements,” with limited access to basic services, such as water, electricity, and toilets. Shack fires are common — and deadly — as residents rely on candlelight and firelight. At night, a bucket under the bed is the only toilet available because fear of deadly crime prevents people from walking a distance to a toilet. 

In Flamingo Crescent, a settlement of 400 people, the inimitable "Aunty" Marie has been instrumental in bringing about change and transforming the lives of her community. After years of development, working with Cape Town City and NGOs, Flamingo Crescent has been "upgraded;" to a toilet, tap, and electricity supply for every shack.

In the Santini settlement, 22 km away, local politics have have slowed a similar upgrade project to a standstill.

With 900 million people living in slum conditions worldwide, Flamingo Crescent sets a precedent for global slum redevelopment. This film explores how lives can be changed, one settlement at a time.

Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

Adapting to Climate Change

Climate change affects us all, and less-developed communities, that are more closely tied to the land, often suffer more directly from environmental transformation. The changes include dramatic fluctuation of water sources, diminishing crop yields, and failure of long-held farming techniques. Discover how community leaders are adjusting, engaging with the international community and seeking innovative methods and new technologies to find sustainable ways of living.

Searching for Home

Immigrants around the world face unbelievable challenges on their journey searching for a new place to call home. While much of the reporting focuses on the backlash refugees face from their new host nations, many communities are opening their arms and minds.

Background image: Feryal Aldahash looks down on her third daughter Valgerour Halla at their home in Reykjavik, Iceland. January 8 2017. | Thomson Reuters Foundation/Filippo Brachetti

  • 2020-10-30T06:30:00-07:00
    Link TV

Breaking Gender Stereotypes

People all over the world are confronting traditional norms around gender and sexuality that are difficult to break. Despite opposition and discrimination from their communities, these people are armed with the courage to truly be themselves. The small steps people take to assert their role in society, can result in major leaps for future generations.

Storytelling Across the Globe

Virtual reality experiences, comic books, and architectural mapping are all forms of storytelling being used by artists and activists around the world to raise awareness of social problems. From calling out sexual assault in India to documenting war crimes in Gaza, these modes of communication are connecting people to issues across the world.

The Resilience of Children

The future of our communities lies in protecting our most vulnerable yet most resilient members: our children. But often, children are the first victims of war and poverty. Many face horrifying events and live with the trauma for the rest of their lives. Despite this, some children survive these events to become leaders of their communities and voices for peace.

  • 2020-11-18T16:30:00-08:00
    Link TV

Taboo Health Issues

Many communities around the world see disease and mental illness not as something to be treated, but as something to be feared. As a result, many suffering from curable conditions are stigmatized within their communities. But through education and organizing, some people are challenging these stigmas and addressing previously taboo health issues.