South Africa has an estimated housing shortage of over 1 million units due to past Apartheid policies designed to divide the population along racial lines. Although housing has been assigned a high priority in South Africa's reconstruction, this huge backlog cannot be addressed by conventional methods of construction.
The aspirations of homeless South Africans to own a brick under tile house are frustrated by simple economics - the available funds in terms of government subsidies and/or bank financing fall far short of such construction. It has become clear that all alternative construction methods need to be investigated and a creative and dynamic domestic building industry fostered.
The Australian Agency for International Development, AusAid, is funded by the Australian government and concerned with development projects around the world. For the past year, an Australian team working in Durban has been busy harnessing the potential of Earthbuilding, a cheap and robust method of construction which can supplement existing approaches. By working with Khuphuka, an N.G.O. based in Durban, the Australian group is using well-established networks to promote formal mud brick Technology on the South African housing scene.