Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  27 minutes
Date:  2002
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 7-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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City Life - My Mother Built This House

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Large homeless contingent in South Africa has organized to build houses for each other.

City Life - My Mother Built This House

There are four million homeless people in South Africa. Nearly one million people in Cape Town live in slums or squatter settlements alone. Victoria Mxenge was the first of the housing projects founded by the South African Homeless People's Federation in the 1990s in Khayalitsha, a huge sprawling township outside Cape Town. A small oasis in a seemingly infinite sea of neat houses, a creche, an office built from old, brightly painted shipping containers and a small shop selling basic essentials. Behind it, and beyond the railway line that carries commuters into the city, the endless shacks stretch out to the distant horizon -- and the distinctive outlines of Table Mountain.

Over 70,000 very poor women belong to the Homeless People's Federation, which was founded to transform the suffering of shack dwellers in South Africa and provide them with the opportunities and choices they had been denied under apartheid. This episode of City Life tells the story of three women shack dwellers.

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Bronze Plaque Award, Columbus International Film and Video Festival


Main credits

Strasburg, Toni (Screenwriter)
Strasburg, Toni (Director)
Markovitz, Steven (Producer)

Other credits

Music, The Definitive Break, Lance Field; camera, Guilio Baccari; editor, Ashley Smith.

Distributor credits

Television Trust for the Environment

Toni Strasburg

Television Trust for the Environment
Toni Strasburg
Produced by Steven Markovitz
Series Editor: Jenny Richards
Series Producer: Luke Gawin

Docuseek2 subjects

South Africa
Women's Studies
Urban Studies
Human Rights
Cultural Anthropology
African Studies

Distributor subjects

African Studies
Developing World
Global Issues
Human Rights
International Studies
Social Justice
Urban Studies
Women's Studies


South Africa, Cape Town, homeless, squatters, Homeless People's Federation, poverty; "My Mother Built This House"; Bullfrog Films

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