Mtshali Family.

Completed August 2018

Ubuntu Design Group reached out to the city of Durban to find a family in need. The city directed us to local tribal authorities, who then directed us to the neediest family in their community. And so we met the Mtshali family.

 One room, borrowed shack that the Mtshali family lived in for 8 years.

One room, borrowed shack that the Mtshali family lived in for 8 years.

The Mtshali family are incredibly resilient. The father, Nkosinathi, survived a tragic road accident; his wife, Fikisiwe, also lives with a disability. The family lost their house in a storm, which forced them to split up into separate accommodations, and the current shelter is cramped and unsafe. Their son went to live with another family so that his childhood would not be traumatized with the lasting memory of their miserable living situation. Fikisiwe states, “I lift his father to an outside toilet, I feed him every meal he has, and I bathe him. Everything is difficult and we did not want to subject our child to that.”

The couple is receiving a government disability grant, but it does not sufficiently cover their monthly expenses, so owning a home that meets their specific needs and caters to their disabilities was far from their reach. The family desired to have a safe and happy home for both them and their son. They also hoped to

give back to their community and create a sustainable living situation by running a daycare from their house.

The Mtshali family’s endurance and desire to help their community resonated with what Ubuntu Design Group stands for, and their everyday challenges prompted us to choose them for our pilot project.

 Presenting architectural plans to the Mtshali family.

Presenting architectural plans to the Mtshali family.

Ubuntu Design Group and Andrews University’s Masters Architecture class worked together with the Mtshalis to turn their dream into a reality. The home caters to their needs by being handicap accessible, and has a functioning day-care with 12 learners. The family is now self sustaining, with an increased income from $217/R3000 to $433/R6000, and contributing to the community through their service.

 The completed Mtshali’s home

The completed Mtshali’s home


Ngcobo Family.

Presently fundraising

The Ngcobo family, a grandmother, her daughter and four grandchildren lived in a temporary mud-brick house, which was sadly destroyed during a rainstorm. The destruction of the Ngcobo family’s house was not due to lack of hard work and effort by the family, but because of limited and poor resources available to them.

 Ngcobo family with Andrews University Student.

Ngcobo family with Andrews University Student.

To some, this would be a cause for despair. At Ubuntu, we see resilience as a mark of creativity; to be able to utilize minimal resources to provide shelter for their family.

People with these traits of creativity, resilience, and hard work are the ones that we
seek to empower and assist, in order for them

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to exert their creativity using sustainable means and effect lasting change in their communities.

We partnered with the Ngcobo family to build them a new home, a home that reflects their creativity and culture, and empowers the community around them.

The home serves a dual purpose as the family will be running a fresh food produce market from a commercial space built in to their new house. This allows the family to operate a business and be self-sustaining.