Background of Overcome Heights

Overcome Heights is an extension of the suburb Vrygrond, located in the False Bay area on the Southern Peninsula of Cape Town. Vrygrond was established as a squatter camp in 1942, making it one of Cape Town’s oldest informal settlements. Between 2005-2006, overpopulation provoked Vrygrond ‘backyarders’ to occupy lands north of the settlement, which became Overcome Heights. This township is thus a strictly informal one, comprised of densely attached shacks that are home to a rising population of around 18,000 people, which consists mostly of Coloured and Black South Africans, but also of a rising number of African immigrants. This has proven to be challenging for Overcome Heights, as immigrants are often viewed as competition for limited municipal resources, contributing to a fragmented community that already suffers from very high unemployment rates, crime, and rife gang-related violence.