In 2000 Sheila Kadende moved from Zimbabwe to Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2006 her landlord suddenly evicted her and every other resident of their building in Johannesburg’s Central Business District to make way for new construction: a mall.
Kadende is a victim of the city government’s efforts to “rejuvenate” low-income areas with shopping centers and small businesses - an effort commonly known as gentrification. Since her eviction, Kadende, 42, her eight year old daughter Madeleine and her twenty year old nephew Washington have lived in a desperate housing situation, provided by the government that theoretically treats accommodation as a human right but practically is overwhelmed by systemic poverty.
Sheila and her family have been abandoned in what is known as the Moth Building.
The Moth Building is located right off the Gautrain Park Street stop and the dozens of one-room apartment buildings are jerry rigged with pieces of particle board, hung cloth and scavenged furniture. Kadende buys and resells beer to the residents to make money but continues to struggle to find work. Unemployment afflicts the majority in Johannesburg's low-income areas and as an immigrant Kadende is doubly affected. She is looking for nursing jobs but often doesn’t have enough money to get to where she’d work.
Despite these obstacles, though, this family trudges forward Madeleine loves school and Sheila volunteers teaching Sunday School at a nearby Salvation Army. Unlike many residents of the Moth Building who have resigned hope of a changing tomorrow, Kadende continues to carve out a life for herself, praying often.