What We Do

What we do

Ndifuna Ukwazi is an activist organisation and law centre that brings together movement building, research, and litigation in campaigns to advance urban land justice in Cape Town.

We work to counter the powerful interests, the poor policies, and regressive ideas that replicate spatial apartheid, poverty and inequality in our city.

We work to compel government to build new affordable rental housing, to regulate land use and the private sector, to keep rents low, and to defend the rights and security of tenure of poor and working-class people who live in rental housing and are being forced out of the city because of rising rents, gentrification and unfair rental practices.

We work to bring poor and working class people back into the city. This will not only honour and redress the land dispossession and forced removals under colonialism and apartheid, but will catalyse the transformation of the City of Cape Town that our Constitution envisions, a sustainable environment and an inclusive economy. The struggle for equitable access to well-located land and decent affordable housing is ultimately the struggle justice and equality and all human rights because we believe, categorically, that “WHERE people live matters.”


How we do it

We build movements and organise counter power – NU is part of Reclaim the City, a social movement of tenants and workers who believe it is time to take the struggle for land and housing to the centre of the city, to the people who should live there, to the heart of power and to the land that matters. The movement has tapped into a deep sense of injustice in the city about the current model of exclusionary development. Reclaim the City currently has two chapters in the inner city and surrounds.


We take on strategic litigation and provide access to legal support and advice – The NU Law Centre focuses on strategic and high impact litigation that has the potential to lead to systemic change that will advance equitable access to land and the right to housing. We see ourselves as activist lawyers because we support our members through legal advice and education, as well as offering solidarity in resisting intimidation, unlawful arrest and attempts to limit freedom of assembly and freedom of speech.


We do investigative research, advocacy & popular education – NU conducts investigative research and advocacy to provide a strong evidence base to give us leverage in our campaigns. We secure access to information that helps to tell what is happening inside government and keep officials and politicians accountable. We analyse data to help provide answers to systemic problems. We synthesise and summarise policy and good practice and we generate models and reports on what is possible. We understand that knowledge is power, and our team develops popular education materials and runs meetings, workshops and schools.


We tell stories that matter – We produce compelling content that spreads the news, and holds the state and private sector to account. We want to disarm the powerful discourses and rhetoric that the state and private sector use to condemn and silence resistance by telling the stories and amplifying the experiences of poor and working-class people. We focus on how we do this, which means ensuring that the process is inclusive, owned and collaborative.

Ndifuna Ukwazi DARE TO KNOW
18 Roeland Street (behind City Varsity)
Cape Town
South Africa

Telephone:  +27 (0)21 012 5094
Email: contact@nu.org.za