In a month which has seen an astonishing number of highs and lows, with many working tirelessly to help address the Covid-19 pandemic as part of and alongside supporting other things we value, it is important to draw inspiration and hope where we can.

Many years ago I carried out some work on the post apartheid housing policy in South Africa and it had a profound impact on my thinking. Housing was seen as pivotal to the fundamental process of change. This inspirational quote from the late Joe Slovo in 1994 relates to the then South African situation at the National Housing Summit, but its words are true of housing at all times and for all people:

“We could have talked about the facts and figures of South Africa’s housing problem. We could have once again looked at the massive backlog and talked about the number of new families entering the market every year. But numbers don’t tell even half the story. We would have been discussing in a vacuum, divorced from the people and places we aim to serve … Housing is a physical requirement. But it is also much more – it is a spiritual need which goes to the root of a dignified and tolerable life. If is at the core of a better life for all South Africans.”

I raised this in an earlier post (see also Mamphela Ramphele: A Place Called Home – life in the migrant labour hostels of Cape Town).

This yet again demonstrates the fundamental links of housing and health. A forthcoming post will cover other inspirational quotes about housing.