The Zenzele informal settlement is a stone’s throw from Oliver’s Village. It is situated in Daveyton on the southern border of Putfontein, Benoni. Zenzele originally started off as a squatter camp in the late 1980’s. It has never had any form of a community development program in place and was left to grow at its own pace. At the time the residents were genuinely homeless and occupying illegal land. 1994 saw the birth of the new South Africa. The then government announced a new socio-economic policy and the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) was born. Amongst other things the RDP programme promised low cost housing to the historically disadvantaged people of South Africa. This resulted in a large influx of people moving into Zenzele and occupying land while they waited for their houses to be bulit. Nearly two decades later most of these people are still waiting for their houses to be built.
Zenzele is a Zulu word meaning “self-sufficient” and without a community development program in place this informal settlement is struggling towards self-sufficiency. No one knows exactly how many households there are in this community, or how many people stay here. Depending on whom you ask the numbers will vary from 2500 to 20000 residents. We believe the number to be closer to the 3500 mark. The reason for such disparate numbers is that Zenzele forms part of a sprawling informal settlement community and no one actually knows the exact boundaries of any of these communities. It would be probably more accurate to say that there are 20000 residents in the entire sprawling homeless community.
We provide soup and bread to all those that come through to Oliver’s Village, numbers fluctuate but on estimate around 200 beneficiaries a day.These beneficiaries are some of the most impoverished in and around the community surrounding Oliver’s Village. Whenever possible we distribute other items such as mielie meal, blankets and clothing to the beneficiaries.