Informal settlement residents turn to pay TV

Kanana informal settlement. Photo: Mzi Velapi.

Several DSTV dishes appear dotted on shack rooftops as you drive past the area from the N2 Highway near Borcherds Quarry in Cape Town.
Kanana Informal Settlement adjacent to Barcelona in Gugulethu was established in 1992 and consists of about 4,000 residents.
The area is hit hard by floods every winter as well as shack fires that sometimes result in deaths.
This densely populated shack settlement has been electrified and has got 1,214 bucket system toilets with some residents sharing them while others got toilets installed in their homes.
There are also more than 40 communal water taps.
Local residents say they enjoy pay TV because it not only helps to update them on international entertainment but also prevents their children from loitering after school, especially during the winter school holidays, keeping them indoors.

Kanana, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Nosiseko Maliwa (29) said she found it irresistible to have DSTV after she learnt about its advantages before she installed it last October.

Maliwa said that her two daughters aged seven and thirteen (Grades two and six) are devoted to their home’s pay TV channels.

“They are very fond of it and no longer want ETV or SABC programmes. My husband and I constantly found them glued to it every time after school. And they do not want to miss out a bit from it.”

“Movies from Mzansi Magic as well as cartoons from other channels are some of the favourite programmes they prefer to watch if it is not gospel music.

I appreciate that well because it helps keep them occupied and protected from other anti-social problems that might affect them outside,” said Maliwa.

Because there are no sports grounds or playpark facilities, young children pass their time with common African traditional games whilst the youth utilise the vacant land along the N2 highway to play football and netball.

An agent installing a DSTV dish in Kanana. Photo: Mandla Mnyakama.

Other residents such as Noma-Efese Wilson (33) and Andiswa Gladile (27) said having pay TV at home excited their children.

“You will not believe the how crazy they become with most of the movies and entertainment programmes provided on the channels.

“They even memorise the times their desired music and Mzansi Magic programmes get flighted.

“It keeps them mesmerized and they sometimes get upset when you send them to the shop,” said Gladile of her boy and girl, aged nine and eleven years.

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Wilson who has owned satellite TV since 2012 added that the service has become an addiction and essential to their home.

“It is not just my four children (aged six, eleven, thirteen and eighteen) but we are now all addicted to it,” she said.

However, the escalating unemployment rate apparently deprives other locals of these benefits.

Many have now ended up only decorating their shacks with dysfunctional metal dishes as their access to the system gets discontinued after they lose employment.

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