Social and environmental challenges people face in Kliptown

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Kliptown is a suburb located 25 kilometers south of Johannesburg in Gauteng, South Africa. Kliptown is considered a part of the former black township of Soweto and is the oldest residential part of the famous township. Kliptown began its development in 1891 on land that previously belong to the Klipspruit Farm, named after the Klipspruit rocky stream, that runs nearby. From 1903 the area was home to informal settlements and squatter camps. Kliptown accommodates people of all colours.

The area faces problems such as electricity theft, littered streets, water leaks, and raw sewage. Raw sewerage and water, a rather permanent feature, run over the pavements, posing several hygienic dangers to residents. The place has been neglected and residents are not pleased with the delivery service. There are power cables running across the ground at the nearby informal settlement while other power cables hang from the houses. Children who play near and underneath these cables are in constant danger.

Patrick Plaaitjies said, “Kliptown used to be united, it used to have this multi-cultural people. The negatives of the community are(sic) known but something needs to be done to utilise the positivity that is around here. It is all about sharing [the] knowledge which is what we should search for. There seems to be a way of living inside the box instead of going outside and exchanging with people. Music can be something that people can use to change the mindset of people around here.”

The children of Kliptown face a mixture of challenges due to the lack in the provision of basic needs and the overwhelming poverty that prevails in the community. It is not only the fact that these children are forced to walk to local schools outside Kliptown, but they also cannot afford the costs associated with uniforms, shoes, meals during lunch and books. It was found that children lived in unhygienic conditions, such as smelling bucket toilets and rotting garbage.

This article was submitted on 13 March 2023. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

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