Khaya Lam

Parys pictureBackground Most South African towns consist of a white area and one or more black townships. Parys is no exception. Parys is the name of the white area and it has two black townships, Tumahole and Schonkenville. Very few black people live in Parys and very few whites in Tumahole. In Parys, the residents have full title to their homes registered with the Deeds Registry. In Tumahole and Schonkenville, the majority of blacks still do not own the land on which, with their own money, they have built houses. If they have lived in municipality provided housing, they may have improved it with their own money whilst paying rent but never received full title.

Without full title, the blacks are excluded from economic activity that is considered normal in other countries. They cannot move house to find work. If they do, they lose their right to live there. They cannot borrow against their house to fund the start up of new businesses. They cannot move to the white area of Parys because they cannot sell their house to fund the move. The capital invested in their house is ‘dead’ capital. Receiving full title releases that capital.


Objective Khaya Lam (My Home) aims to bring the economic power of home ownership to black tenants deprived of the dignity and rights under apartheid.  Under the 1913 Land Act blacks were unable to own land or their properties in townships. This was probably the single worst element of apartheid. 22 years after apartheid ended, little has changed in this regard. In South Africa today there are still between 7 million and 10 million black families living as tenants or without ownership rights in houses they have lived in for generations. There has been no systematic conversion of these “council owned” and “traditional community” properties to full unrestricted ownership.

NGWATHELOGOThe FMF have set up a pilot project in Ngwathe to convert properties to full title. As at April 2016, 78o properties have been converted. At an average of R100,000 per dwelling (US$6,700), this means that the wealth of the residents of Ngwathe has increased by R78,000,000.

The project has now expanded to the municipalities of Grabouw, Graaff-Rienet, Stellenbosch and Cape Town and has sufficient funds to complete 2960 conversions to full title.

FMF_Khaya_Lam_projectMrs. Maria Mothupi turned 100 in January 2016. She received her title deed when she was 99 years old. She had never previously experienced living in her own home or living in a home legally owned by her family. She was two years old when the 1913 Land Act banned land ownership by black people in South Africa, and experienced firsthand the devastation this evil legislation caused for South Africa’ s black population. She and her husband built their house with their own money in the oldest part of Tumahole despite not owning the land. This photo shows Mrs. Mothupi a few minutes after she received her title deed, signifying that she finally owns her house and land after all these years. The satisfaction this brings her is readily apparent in her smile and the look in her eyes. When asked what the title deed means to her, she replied, “I can sleep well now.” She elaborated that she is now able to leave a legacy to her children when she passes away by legally leaving her home to them in her will — something she had not previously had the legal right to do.

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