Very early in the morning, Diana Phololo and a dozen elderly women from 54 Soper Road step out on to the dark streets of central Johannesburg. If they are quick, they will beat the municipal cleaners to the detritus left overnight by revellers in the newly hip neighbourhoods of South Africa’s sprawling commercial capital.

There is little solidarity among the 100 residents of the burned-out building where Phololo, 58, has lived unlawfully for nearly 20 years. Each races to the shattered bottles left on the pavements outside the bars and restaurants. Sold by the kilo for recycling, the glass provides the residents with enough money to eat.

“It’s not easy at my age, but it’s all I’ve got,” Phololo says …more