Meet the K2 Community

K2: K2 is densely packed community with approximately 264 shacks and 430 people. It is located in Site B in the township of Khayelitsha. It faces challenges such as insufficient access to roads, centralised toilets, greywater disposal, crime, and threat of eviction. The community is working on resolutions to some of these issues alongside CORC and ISN. To read more about their settlement click here.

K2 Community Members

mabieMasibylele Swelihashi (Mabie)

Mabie is one of the K2 community leaders, and has lived in K2 for the past four years. He is passionate about working with people and helping others. He played a key role in getting a core team of K2 community members to work with us. He also shared his ideas and helped to facilitate communication between community members and the WPI team. Towards the end of the project, he found a job which meant he was not available for further interviewing.



Zolisa Sobethwa (Mdu)

Born in the town of Butterworth on the Eastern Cape of South Africa in 1981, Mdu was destined to live a non-stop life. He lived with his mother until the age of six when he moved to K2. Here he lived alone with his uncle until his mother moved to K2.  In 1997 he moved out of his mother’s home to live in Delft. Here he found living difficult, recounting that even something as simple as a haircut (R8 in Khayelitsha) was three times more expensive in Delft. Work was hard to find and public transportation was poor. Mdu wanted to go back to K2.

Since the early 2000’s Mdu has devoted much of his time to improving his community. He was heavily involved in a gospel group composed of K2 and neighbouring settlement members. He also played soccer on the K2 team. As he grew into his late twenties, Mdu lived his life by the motto, “How can I improve my location? How can I have people be comfortable? How can I help different kinds of people?” In 2007 he put these theories into practice when he became K2’s community leader.  In 2012 he played a pivotal role in getting K2 not only electricity, but also toilets.

He enjoys helping people, but he also enjoys the unique challenges that come with individuals. “I have learned a lot. I enjoy learning how to deal with people, and [I like how] you can ask a question and get ten answers ten ways.”

Currently Mdu is starting up a bakery in hopes that it will take off. He is adamant about being his own boss and accomplishing things at their highest level. As time progresses, he hopes to motivate the “youngsters” in his community and be a role model for the youth. Mdu is certainly a man of many talents. He is intelligent, respectful and interested in improving the world around him. To sum up his mantra he often says, “I am happy when my people are happy.”



ficks2Thobelani Skweyiya (Ficks)

Ficks is originally from Ladyfre, Eastern Cape, but loves living in the community of K2.  His family consists of his beloved wife Kaniza, his two dogs Scully and Face, his two sons, and his daughter who is due to arrive early next year (2016). Ficks’ passion is carpentry. He has used this skill to get a job he loves and build custom speakers, cabinets, and decorations for his home in his spare time. He was an invaluable resource to our team, halfway through the project we received the bittersweet news he was hired for a job and would not be able to work on our team anymore. Even afterward, he still managed to not only find the time to work with us but also to contribute valuable ideas to the project.




Bongiswa Nxawe  (Zusake)

Bongiswa is from King Williams Town on the Eastern Cape and has lived in K2 for the last 15 years. She lives in her home with her husband, son and daughter. Both of her children are young, aged three and seven respectively. Bongiswa enjoys spending time at home with her children watching TV soaps and listening to music. Her current goal for herself is to find a steady job. She loves to smile and laugh and would like the world to try it more often.




Babalwa Mxabo (Baba)

Living in a house of five with her mother, father, brother and daughter, Babalwa enjoys living in K2. 19 years earlier she moved there from Alice on the Eastern Cape. She loves that, “K2 is an open space where we respect each other, no racism, and everyone is treated as an equal.” When she is not pursuing her goal of finding work, she likes listening to gospel music- especially Veliswa and Malibongwe.  Babalwa describes herself as a respectful, loyal and tall woman who is eager to share her ideas with others.




Neziswa Tyesi (Nez)

Neziswa was born in East London on the Eastern Cape. Only living in K2 for three years, compared to her other co-researchers, she is new. Nevertheless she fits right in with everyone, listening to gospel music and playing soccer, netball and tagalan. In the future she would like to work as a cleaner. She hopes to share her laughter and dancing with the world.

Other Community Members

 In our time working in K2 the people mentioned above were essential to the progress we made, but others were still helpful in moving our project to completion. We would like to acknowledge the members of the K2 community not listed here for the ideas and contributions that they have made to our project.