Shipping containers can be converted into houses

Founder of Nosiseko Educare, Nosiseko Masane, and Lungelo Dyani, who heads special projects in the Limani Containers company, in front of the newly refurbished centre.

Converted shipping containers are often used as hair salons, barber shops and spaza shops but a township-based company is hoping to show people how they can also be used as houses, classrooms, clinics and ECD centres.

Limani Containers are on a mission to prove that the containers can be an alternative to brick and cement structures.

The company was started towards the end of 2013 by the Gugulethu-based Dyani family.

They recently built an administrative office, a kitchen and two rooms as well a toilet for toddlers at Nosiseko Educare, an Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre in Khayelitsha.

Lungelo Dyani, who heads the company’s special projects, said they wanted people to start realising that containers could be more that just spaza shops.

He said they have also assisted an ECD centre in Mitchell’s Plain and a school in Nyanga. Mr Dyani said they had already started engaging local ECDs about using the containers instead of shacks so the children could be taught in a safe environment.

He said these ECDs often battle to get approval from the City of Cape Town’s Department of Social Development due to fire safety risks.

He said their containers were safe, well ventilated and child friendly.

Mr Dyani said the containers were also cheaper to build and maintain compared to brick structures.

They were easy to convert and this could be done on site, he said.

Mr Dyani said they understood that ECD centres’ battle to acquire funding to revamp their structures so they source building material on their behalf.

“We need to think out of the box if we want to solve many of the challenges that our people face. We have a backlog of housing allocation and this could be one of the other ways of solving it. We are in the processes now of starting a programme that would equip township people with converting containers. We need to uplift our society and it is our duty to do so. We need to be innovative thinkers.”

Mr Dyani said the containers can also assist with student accommodation.

But most importantly, he said, they intended to uplift people by giving them the opportunity to use their skills instead of sitting at home and doing nothing with their qualifications.

Founder of Nosiseko Educare centre, Nosiseko Masane, said she was grateful to receive the newly converted shipping containers. She said they now had more space to accommodate all the children.