“The bucket toilet system remains a persistent phenomenon in seven of the nine provinces despite measures to eradicate it.”
Our Top 100 The Young Independents Healer, Candice Sehoma has worked towards restoring basic human dignity…
We share her amazing story…
Growing up in Alexandra township, Candice Sehoma only had access to bucket toilets. Her first encounter with flushing toilets was when she started school. It made her see that her community was being deprived of basic human dignity.
So, in 2012, Sehoma, 23, teamed up with three friends to form the Building Blocks Foundation, an organisation that gives marginalised communities access to flushing toilets. They started by educating their community about the importance of proper sanitation. Then they began facilitating the process of erecting flushing toilets in Alexandra. Since 2013 Building Blocks has erected 35 communal flushing toilets in 23 areas.
Once erected, the toilets are locked and each family using them is given a key, ensuring easier maintenance. But it’s not just about having access to a modern toilet: flushing toilets help combat the spread of diseases, improving the health of a community. Sehoma, who is studying towards an honours degree in development studies at the University of Pretoria, is already planning to expand Building Blocks beyond Alexandra.
“Although we take it for granted, sanitation is a physical measure that has probably done more to increase human life span than any kind of drug or surgery”
The four young individuals have taken the stand to work towards a goal of improving their area of residency. At the startling realisation that many residents of the township are victims of the continuous deteriorating sanitation debacle and polluted areas of relieving themselves, the main project’s objective to eradicate these circumstantial agents notoriously known as the “Bucket System” preceding many years of exposure to such state of affairs, the residents are found to be accustomed to these conditions and are usually with little knowledge of how to maintain the toilets they have personally built for themselves, general cleanliness, health and environmental awareness.
Both children and adults inhabiting these areas lack the skills and knowledge to maintain their surrounding environment in a way that is pleasurable and safe for their own benefit. Building Blocks bears great concerns for basic sanitary conditions for local citizen in South Africa, particularly in Alexandra where there’s an influx of bucket toilets. Building Blocks Sole objective is to upwardly mobilise sanitary conditions in South Africa and to educate civil society about sanitation to prevent contraction of diseases such as diarrhoea and parasitic worm infection amongst others.
“It’s a basic need, one that has been overlooked. Since I was directly affected by it, I felt a strong urge to drive the kind of change I want to see in my community.”Find Sehoma on Twitter: @CandisiweS
Did You Know?
1. 37 percent of all the bucket toilets are in Free State, 42 percent are located in Eastern Cape with an overwhelming percentage of the bucket toilets concentrated in Nelson Mandela Bay.
2. Bucket toilets are still existing in Gauteng
3. 29,429 bucket toilets were provided to consumer units in the municipality in 2014.
4. Bucket system is dangerous to elderly people because they have to go out at night to use the toilet.they could be killed or raped as informal settlements are not safe.
5. Using bucket systems can also spread germ causing infections faster, especially to women.
6. The buckets systems also cause an unbearable smell, that may result to fast germ spread.