Walmer Township remains one of the poorest neighborhoods in the Eastern Cape. Common issues in the township include unemployment, HIV/AIDS, alcohol abuse, child neglect, crime, and illiteracy. The home of about 70,000 residents, Walmer lacks sufficient resources to remedy these ailments; there are only two primary schools, one high school, and one clinic in the township.
It is not uncommon for children to be orphaned or adopted due to their parents suffering from HIV/AIDS, debilitating alcohol addiction, and teenage pregnancy. Many families live in self built shacks and unstable houses, which make them extremely vulnerable during rainstorms and winter months. These lack of resources ultimately create enormously difficult obstacles for the township’s youth to defeat the cycle of poverty. Izizwe Projects hopes to continue to alleviate the burdens of poverty and lessening the difficulty of overcoming such barriers for the township’s most underprivileged.
The history of Walmer, however, is unique to other townships in South Africa. In 1898, white business owners and white households wanted their black workers to remain close to their property so work can be more convenient. Although the area of the township was initially intended to be a white suburb, South Africans blacks and coloreds began to move into the area. During the Apartheid era, township residents fully resisted moving the township due to their love for their neighbors and neighborhood. The majority of whites in Port Elizabeth also supported the township residents in this struggle. The history of the township has thus led to a very diverse population of South African blacks and coloreds, Zimbabweans, Nigerians, Somalians, and even some white families.