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Title: Blikkiesdorp  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Politics of South Africa, Federalism in South Africa, Anti-Land Invasion Unit (Cape Town), African Communist, Non-European Unity Movement
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Photo of Blikkiesdorp Temporary Relocation Area
Photo of Blikkiesdorp Temporary Relocation Area
Blikkiesdorp is located in South Africa
 Blikkiesdorp shown within South Africa
Country South Africa
Province Western Cape
Municipality City of Cape Town
Established 2007

Symphony Way Temporary Relocation Area in Delft, Cape Town, better known by its nickname Blikkiesdorp, is a relocation camp made-up of corrugated iron shacks.[1] Blikkiesdorp, which is Afrikaans for "Tin Can Town", was given its name by residents because of the row-upon-row of tin-like one room structures throughout the settlement.[2][3]

Settlement structure

Blikkiesdorp was built by the City of Cape Town in 2007 by Mayor Helen Zille. It contains approximately 1,600 one-room structures. According to government officials, it has cost over 30 million rand to build.[4]

The structures have walls and roofs made of thin tin and zinc sheets. They are of 18 square meters in size. Ablution, sanitation, and water facilities are shared between four structures.[5][6]

Conditions and criticisms

Blikkiesdorp is regarded as unsafe [7] and it has become well known for its high crime rate, its substandard living conditions, and its extremely hot or cold, windy and sandy living environment.[8][9][10][11] Residents have been reported to be suffering from depression.[12]

It has been called an informal settlement by City of Cape Town officials despite its formal structure being built by the government.[3] In response to the criticisms, the City has called Blikkiesdorp the safest informal settlement in Cape Town.[13] It has also been compared to a concentration camp by residents and in national[14] [15][16] and international[1] media.

The City of Cape Town has been criticised for its role in creating Blikkiesdorp. Premier Helen Zille and Mayor Dan Plato have come under fire from residents on many occasions. On 18 November Dan Plato was visibly harassed by residents who claimed he had lied about when they would receive better housing.[17]

NGOs, international human rights organisations, and the Anti-Eviction Campaign have publicly criticised the conditions in Blikkiesdorp and how they say it is used to reinforce the eviction of poor families especially to make way for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[3][11][18][19] Residents have also threatened to burn down Blikkiesdorp because of the bad conditions in the settlement.[20] Ahead of the 2010 World Cup the British anti-poverty charity War on Want created a virtual model of Blikkiesdorp featuring videos of residents talking about conditions in the settlement.[21]

Blikkiesdorp has also been compared with the alien camp called District 9 from the international hit movie on numerous occasions. This even earned it a front page spread in the South African tabloid The Daily Voice.[22][23]


Blikkiesdorp has been instrumental in relocating residents evicted from elsewhere in the City. Many evicted residents of Salt River and Woodstock have found themselves in the relocation camp almost 30 kilometers away from town.[4][24] It has been called a dumping ground for unwanted and or homeless people from all over Cape Town.[14][25] The evicted Symphony Way Pavement Dwellers were moved to Blikkiesdorp in October 2009 after occupying Symphony Way for almost two years.[26]

Police Brutality

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has been implicated in draconian policing measures in Blikkiesdorp Temporary Relocation Area in Delft, Cape Town. Police have been accused of suppression of freedoms and illegal curfews.[27][28][29] They have also been accused of gratuitous violence against innocent bystanders during drug raids and turning the settlement into a concentration camp.[30] [31]

Films and Books

External links

  • Blikkiesdorp Photos
  • 'Tin Town', a short documentary on the Symphony Way community in Blikkiesdorp
  • Tin Town: the unaccountable cost of the 2010 World Cup
  • Blikkiesdorp Photos from the Guardian UK
  • Blikkiesdorp (film)
  • The Beautiful Gain, music video of a song that refers to Blikkiesdorp by the Chomsky Allstars
  • War on Want Blikkiesdorp Interactive photographic panorama


  1. ^ a b Life in 'Tin Can Town' for the South Africans evicted ahead of World Cup, David Smith, The Guardian, 1 April 2010
  2. ^ "We’d rather die than move away". Sowetan. 8 October 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c "Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions ask City to reconsider Symphony Way's eviction to Blikkiesdorp". Pambazuka News. 2009-10-08. 
  4. ^ a b Dumping ground' for unwanted people"'". Mail and Guardian. 9 October 2009. 
  5. ^ Western Cape High Court order: City of Cape Town vs Symphony Way, 7 Oct 2009
  6. ^ "City gets eviction order for pavement dwellers". The Citizen. 
  7. ^ Cape Town Administration Violates the Rights of the Poor, Carmen Ludwig, All Africa, 27 October 2011
  8. ^ "Soaring heat keeps rescuers on high alert". IOL. 
  9. ^ "Life in the tin jungle of Blikkiesdorp". 
  10. ^ "Forced Removals". The Mercury. 29 January 2009. 
  11. ^ a b Smith, David (2010-04-01). "Life in 'Tin Can Town' for the South Africans evicted ahead of World Cup". London: Guardian. 
  12. ^ The psychological strain of living in Tin Can Town, by Anna Majavu, IRIN News, November 2012
  13. ^ "City compares Blikkiesdorp to informal settlements". Anti-Eviction Campaign. 4 May 2009. 
  14. ^ a b "‘We don’t want to live in Tin Can Town’". Sowetan. 9 November 2009. 
  15. ^ "The Weekender: No temporary solution". Abahlali. 14 March 2009. 
  16. ^ "UN affiliated NGO asks the City to reconsider Symphony Way’s eviction to Blikkiesdorp which will be decided in Court on Wednesday". Anti-Eviction Campaign. 5 October 2009. 
  17. ^ "CT mayor accused of lying". Eyewitness News. 18 November 2009. 
  18. ^ "Homeless S. Africans Complain Ahead Of World Cup". NPR. 
  19. ^ South Africa's poor complain of evictions as country prepares to host World Cup, Sudarsan Raghavan, The Washington Post, 20 June 2010
  20. ^ "Delft squatters not prepared to relocate despite court ruling". SABC. 
  21. ^ "Welcome to Blikkiesdorp". War on Want. 
  22. ^ Blikkiesdoprp housingdisaster has become Cape Flats' own...District 9 in the Daily Voice, South Africa, 3 October 2009
  23. ^ "UN affiliated NGO asks the City to reconsider Symphony Way’s eviction to Blikkiesdorp which will be decided in Court on Wednesday".  
  24. ^ "Blikkiesdorp: Winner of the Audience Award for best 24min at the RUTV Doc Fest". 
  25. ^ "The fire next time". SABC. 11 September 2009. 
  26. ^ The Cape Town model, state violence and military urbanism, Christopher McMichael, Open Democracy, 5 January 2012
  27. ^ Smith, David (2010-04-01). "Life in 'Tin Can Town' for the South Africans evicted ahead of World Cup". London: The Guardian Newspaper. 
  28. ^ "Somalis harassed and threatened, but too broke to leave". Anti-Eviction Campaign. 
  29. ^ "Photos: ‘Blikkiesdorp’, the Symphony Way TRA 18 01 2009". Anti-Eviction Campaign. 
  30. ^ "'"Man shot by cops 'can't sit down properly. IOL. 
  31. ^ "Cape Town homeless relocated during World Cup". Play the Game. 
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