Avondale residents outnumbered by buckets


The cold wind and rain blanketed Avondale in a thick grey mist; buckets and bottles lined the perimeters of colourful houses and shacks waiting to be filled with perhaps the community’s rarest resource- water. After searching for someone to speak to, our team met Bonakela Mbangani and Jack Gobile; two residents who struggle to access water. It wasn’t hard to believe: there appeared to be more buckets and bottles in the community than residents. 

Avondale is one of three state-owned farms in the area (and among more than a dozen within the municipality) where the water supply in insufficient for the community living there. Makana Municipality has earmarked drought-relief funding to sink boreholes, but meanwhile continues to deliver truckloads of water to farming communities all over the municipality – at a cost that councillors have flagged as unsustainable. No money to repair broken municipal water trucks means that Avondale and many other areas received their last delivery more than two months ago.

The communities on Castle Farm and Ripley were reportedly also experiencing dire water shortages, although the Grocott’s Mail team did not visit these farms.

Bonakele Mbangani, Avondale resident: “Nou, met die reen vandag, kry ek [water]van die dam af. Almal die mense vat dit daaronder… by die boorgat.” Photo: Stephen Kisbey-Green

Jack Gobile, an Avondale resident, gets his water from a rainwater tank that is linked to the gutter system on the roof of his house. If there is no rain, his wife has to walk down a steep hillside to get to the closest borehole, with a bucket on her head. Photo: Stephen Kisbey-Green

A piece of rubbish ironically found in Avondale. Photo: Stephen Kisbey-Green

Residents of Avondale have to rely on rainwater for the majority of the year, with their only other source of water coming from a borehole kilometres away, down a steep hillside. Photo: Stephen Kisbey-Green

Buckets outnumber residents in Avondale. Photo: Stephen Kisbey-Green

‘Nothing. There’s nothing,’ says Cynthia Ngolothi. Like other Avondale residents, she collects water from her roof when it rains. Photo: Sue Maclennan

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