The Compassionate Hearts soup kitchen provides food aid for many residents of Touws River in South Africa, which has a 93% unemployment rate, according to humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers Foundation.
During the lockdowns for the pandemic, the majority of the town’s residents have become unemployed with what few businesses existed now closed.
The old railway town used to have employment mostly in the form of farm workers and the Commuter Transport Engineering (CTE) factory, a main source of work for residents.
Many residents are desperate and rely on aid for survival. Homelessness and severe poverty are rife. Touws River has become a ghost town with very few people ever stopping there from the passing national highway. There is no government Home Affairs or Labour Department offices for the unemployed to access services such as the Unemployment Insurance Fund in Touws River.
A Visual Story by EPA’s NIC BOTHMA