“We built the house as a practical statement. Of course we knew that it was illegal. We knew that we would have to suffer the consequences…. We did not try to interrupt negotiations – at every time we were ready to talk. All we wanted… was to ask them to come and look at the house… to see that the people’s process is better.” Janap Oosthuizen
It is with great pleasure that we share the Ruo Emoh booklet, documented in the past 6 months by SA SDI Alliance together with People’s Environmental Planning, UCT & University of Basel Masters students (part of the City Research Studios hosted by African Centre for Cities) and the community of Ruo Emoh. This booklet shares the story of Ruo Emoh (Our Home, spelt backwards) a housing project through which 49 families have moved into homes on a well-located piece of infill land in Colorado Park in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town.
This booklet documents the project’s long history. It shares the housing histories and experiences of nineteen of the forty-nine families who self organised to change their living conditions and to become homeowners in Ruo Emoh. It narrates their stories and experiences, the hardships of their housing struggles, the challenges of organising to access secure housing, and the emotions and experiences of moving into new homes in this development.
At the heart of the booklet are stories of what is possible when a group of people are willing and able to organise, to build strategic alliances and to negotiate pragmatically over the long term. At the heart of the booklet are family hopes and visions for the future as they continue to build their lives as homeowners in Ruo Emoh. This booklet celebrates Ruo Emoh families who know best the realities of housing struggle and the hopes of home ownership.