Thinasonke Extension 4 township, on Joburg’s east rand, is a place of contrasts. There, small Reconstruction & Development programme (RDP) houses stand, roofless and unfinished. Dotted between them are 48 entirely different homes: they are far larger than the typical 40m² RDP stand; they have basic security features, such as burglar bars; and, in contrast to the cut-and-paste RDP properties, these have their own unique designs.

The 48 houses belong to members of the Federation of the Urban & Rural Poor (FedUp), a group of former backyard dwellers from Thokoza who decided more than two decades ago that they wanted to take an active role in solving their housing problems...

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