Disparity of living conditions in South Africa
Oct 30, 2007

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Shacks small enough to fit comfortably inside the average American kitchen offer little to no protection from the elements in townships and squatter camps surrounding Cape Town, South Africa.

Children wander aimlessly in the streets, playing in the dust with sticks. Teenagers hang out in streets teeming with gang violence and drug abuse. Most men roam the streets looking for work or raiding trash cans for anything usable. Many turn to alcohol.

These conditions spawn substance abuse, prostitution, sexual abuse and teenage pregnancies, all of which proliferate the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

• The average white household earns six times the income of the average black household.

• Unemployment is six times higher in black communities - more than 41 percent do not have jobs.

• 57 percent of South Africans live below the poverty level, earning approximately $120 per month; more than half earn less than $500 a year.

• HIV/AIDS infects more than 28 percent of the country's people; nine of 10 cases afflict people living in townships around the cities.

• Only 52 percent complete school.

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