With a population of almost four million, Cape Town is South Africa’s second most populous city and the capital of the Western Cape. Many people in the country migrate to the city in hope of a better life.
However, they often end up being unemployed and living in very poor conditions in informal settlements. Many families do not have access to safe drinking water or electricity, nor can they provide an education for their children. Inequalities based on race and ethnicity are the norm. Furthermore, HIV/AIDS is a real problem in the city, even more so than in many other parts of the country.
Since 1994, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Cape Town.
Cape Town has grown steadily over the years. Most of the internal migrants who come here settle in one of the townships around the city. Cape Town consists of just over 900,000 households and over 100,000 of these are informal settlements. Overall, 39% of households live below the poverty line. Many are unable to meet their basic needs such as clean drinking water, adequate sanitation or electricity. Inequalities based on race and ethnicity are felt everywhere. While half of white households have internet at home, only 3% of black African households do. Crime rates are very high in many areas and children growing up here are at high risk.
Although unemployment is relatively low compared to other South African cities, it has increased in Cape Town in recent years. About 29% of people in the city are out of work. Among young people aged 15-24, unemployment is even higher, with about 5 in 10 young people unemployed. This is because many young people drop out of school and therefore do not have the necessary skills to find a decent job. It is estimated that about one million children in South Africa live in a household where no adult can read and write.