Global Builders – South Africa

South Africa - Western Cape

South Africa, the southernmost country on the African continent, has a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. It has 11 official languages, which is among the highest number of any country in the world. This diversity has warranted the country the nickname “rainbow nation”.

Despite having the second largest economy in Africa, and 34th largest in the world, there is still widespread poverty. With industrialization came a rapidly increasing cost of living, while a quarter of the population is living on less than $1.25 USD a day.

Cape Town’s townships, which are areas on the outskirts where those of African or mixed heritage were forced to live under apartheid, continue to be troubled and left behind economically even today. It is there that the Fuller Center’s Global Builder teams will serve.

Getting Involved

There are several ways that you can get involved:

  • Donate to support this specific partner. Houses cost money to build, so any donation is always helpful!
  • Join a virtual volunteer team, choosing to donate your travel costs instead of making the trip in person. This is the perfect way to stay involved and give back during the COVID-19 pandemic.

House sponsorship costs: $10,500

About Our Work

More than 2.1 million families in South Africa live in poverty housing or are effectively homeless, with much of that population in the townships as the legacy of apartheid continues to loom large here two decades since apartheid’s end. Often these stand in stark contrast to nearby luxurious communities.

The Fuller Center for Housing Western Cape, directed by Bishop Louis Green, who was displaced by apartheid and grew up in a township himself, helps families in townships make improvements to their homes. It also will bring relief to the “backyard dwellers” in townships such as Bonteheuwel by partnering with property owner families to replace the wood and metal shacks with permanent homes.

The average cost of a house in a place such as Bonteheuwel is about $35,000 U.S. dollars, well beyond what a “backyard dweller” can afford. The cost of land in Cape Town is exceptionally high, leaving most working class families to become “backyard dwellers” in almost all townships throughout South Africa.

The Fuller Center seeks to offer an opportunity, not a hand-out. As such, families are required to put in a number of hours of their own labor, termed sweat equity, into their own home and those of their neighbors.

Learn the Basics Area Info

isiZulu 22.7%, isiXhosa 16%, Afrikaans 13.5%, English 9.6%, Sepedi 9.1%, Setswana 8%, Sesotho 7.6%, Xitsonga 4.5%, siSwati 2.5%, Tshivenda 2.4%, isiNdebele 2.1%, other 2.1%
Age Structure:
0-14 years 28.27%, 15-24 years 17.61%, 25-54 years 41.78%, 55+ years 12.34%
54,841,552 (2017 est.)
Life Expectancy: 63.8 years (Male 62.4 years, Female 65.3 years)
December-February: Day 80s-90s Night 50s-60s June-August: Day 70s-80s Night 30s-40s
Rand (ZAR) $1 USD = R 12.3
Literacy Rate:
94.4% (Male 95.4%, Female 93.4%)
Ethnic Groups:
Black African 80.2%, White 8.4%, Colored 8.8%, Indian/Asian 2.5%
Protestant 36.6%, Catholic 7.1%, Muslim 1.5%, other Christian 36%, other 2.3%, unspecified 1.4%, none 15.1%


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