Dying for a pee – Cape Town’s slum residents battle for sanitation | Source: Reuters, Oct 12 2016 |
CAPE TOWN (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Siphesihle Mbango was just six years old when her friend, Asenathi, begged her to go with her to the toilet then ran outside alone – and was never seen again.
Now 12, Mbango tells the story with an intense, unflinching gaze but her hands, fidgeting nervously as she speaks, show the trauma is still raw.
“We were at the crèche and she wanted me to go with her,” but I told her I was busy, I was playing, I didn’t want to go and she went out by herself,” she said, at her home in a Cape Town slum.
“It was a long time she was away and when the teachers asked me, I told them she went to the toilet. They looked and looked for her for a long, long time. But then we lost hope. We never saw her again.”
Mbango shares a one-room shack with her grandmother and two younger siblings in Endlovisi, a vast sprawl of more than 6,600 corrugated iron shacks perched precariously over the sand dunes on the southeastern edge of the South African city.
Part of Khayelitsha, one of the world’s five biggest slums, Endlovini is home to an estimated 20,000 people who share just 380 or so communal toilets.
However, the family live in an area where there are no easily accessible toilets at all – and according to the community, residents have literally been dying for a pee.
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