Tommy Trenchard/Panos Pictures

Cape Town, South Africa

Lillian Mvolontshi and her granddaughter, Phawu watches a video on a phone screen in the abandoned military warehouse where their family now live in central Cape Town. While living in the township of Khayelitsha, Mvolontshi's grandmother, the breadwinner of the family, was spending most of her income on transport, and was frequently faced with the threat of violence at home and on her daily daily commute. Phawu's mother faced similar challenges getting to college until eventually dropping out. But the family could not afford to live closer to her work, due to ever increasing property and rental prices. They now share this abandoned warehouse on a former military base with four other families. Overall, the base, which comprises of several buildings, some of them dating from the late 1800s, is being occupied by hundreds of people.

Since 2017, the Reclaim the City movement has been supporting the occupation of various abandoned buildings in central Cape Town in order to protest against gentrification and the lack of affordable housing near the city centre, and to provide a refuge for those being evicted from their homes. During the apartheid era non-white residents were forcibly removed from much of central Cape Town. Nearly three decades later the city remains chronically divided along ethnic and socio-economic lines, while South Africa remains the world's most unequal country, according to the World Bank.

Object Name
Tommy Trenchard/Panos Pictures
Cape Town
South Africa
Max size
High Resolution
5000 x 3338 pixels
42.33 x 28.26 cm (300 dpi)
16.67 x 11.13 inch (300 dpi)
4.7 MB size on disk
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