This article describes the daunting challenge of precarious housing in Salvokop located in
the southern part of inner City of Tshwane, Gauteng Province. Insecure tenure,
unmaintained dwellings, overcrowding, mushrooming of backyard shacks and the rise of
the informal settlement, all that led to deep levels of vulnerability and neighbourhood
deterioration. Current conditions show that life in that neighbourhood is fraught as
substandard housing degenerated into slum and squalor. This concern emerged
among other salient pressing issues of poverty and vulnerability from the World Café
and Focus Groups with the inner city churches including those from Salvokop. The article
set out to describe precarious housing, unpleasant living conditions owing to the fact
that human beings stay in unsuitable dwellings while the environment deteriorates.
Taking into account their circumstances, the article’s aim was to recapture the extent to
which the residents suffer as a result of living in dwellings unfit for human habitation,
rethinking an alternative model to respond. A theological agenda for future ecclesiological
engagement was discerned forthwith recommendations. The article makes a contribution
towards the theology of the city in that it stimulates church practices and housing of
poor people in Tshwane. It does so by engaging in a unique way grassroots knowledge
from the different inner city congregations. This process used the platform of
surveys, World Café style gatherings and Focus Groups. In conversation with the primary
source, this article also contributed with original data generated with the Salvokop
residents whose stories helped to expend on horizons of housing, which is acknowledged.
All the inner city church contributors of the realisation of the study objectives are also
This article forms part of a collaborative research project entitled ‘Religious innovation and competition amidst urban social
change: a Pretoria case study’. The project was funded by the Templeton Foundation as part of an African-wide enquiry on ‘Christianity
and social change in contemporary Africa’.
The project is also a sub-theme of the ‘Faith in the City’ research project, hosted by the Centre for Contextual Ministry in the Faculty of
Theology, University of Pretoria.