13 living in one shack


THEY are known as the bus family.

That’s because every morning as the sun rises, the Zitha family members file out of their tiny, six by six metre shack like commuters do when alighting from a bus.

The Zitha family have no choice but to live in this tiny shack at Joe Slovo, as no one in the family has a job. Photo by Elizabeth Langa ~
The Zitha family have no choice but to live in this tiny shack at Joe Slovo, as no one in the family has a job. Photo by Elizabeth Langa ~

Thirteen family members live in this tiny shack at Joe Slovo, near Komatipoort in Mpumalanga.

Feroza Zitha (42) has been living in the shack with her mother Annah Zitha (65) and sister Ellen (25) for as long as she can remember.

Then came her kids – Ntombi Ubisi (23), Thulani (20), Linah (28), Ntokozo (17) and Fikile Zitha (15).

Soon the shack grew even smaller when grandkids Thabiso Mkhatshwa (9), Siphiwe and Thandi Zitha (4), Nkosingiphile (3) and Ntokozo (1) joined the family.

Feroza told Daily Sun: “We would love to build a bigger house but no one in this family is working.”

She said they slept on straw mats and in the morning took turns to bathe, or if they were brave enough, did so while the rest of the family was asleep.

Gogo Annah said she had come to accept this indignity as something she simply had to live with, adding that the sad situation actually brought them closer as a family.

“Many people are shocked that we sleep together in this tiny shack, but it’s been like this all my life.

“I shared this shack with my two daughters for decades, and now with their kids as well. They grew up in it, and if the gods don’t smile on us soon, so will their kids.”

The family survives on the three grandkids’ social grants and the generosity of people who give them food and clothes.

Mpumalanga Human Settlements spokesman Freddy Ngobe said the family should register for an RDP house.


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