Irene Grootboom

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Irene Grootboom
Bornc. 1969
NationalitySouth African
Known forHousing activist who won a court case about the constitutional right to adequate housing, and died penniless in a shack

Irene Grootboom (c. 1969 – 2008) was a South African housing rights activist best known for her victory before the Constitutional Court in 2000.[1] The Court found that the government had not met its obligation to provide adequate alternative housing for the residents of Cape Town's Wallacedene informal settlement. The ruling provided clear legal support for housing-rights campaigns in South Africa and elsewhere. At the time of her death in August 2008, however, Grootboom was still living in a shack.[2][3]

The SJC grassroots movement in Khayelitsha established the Irene Grootboom Memorial Lecture Series in her honour.[4]


  1. ^ Government of the Republic of South Africa v Grootboom 2001 (1) SA 46 (CC).
  2. ^ IOL 2008, 'Housing activist dies in a shack',, 5 August. Retrieved on 14 August 2008.
  3. ^ Joubert, Pearlie (8 August 2008). "Grootboom dies homeless and penniless". Mail & Guardian. Archived from the original on 28 July 2019. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  4. ^ "SJC: Third Irene Grootboom Memorial Lecture Series". NGO Pulse. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2013.


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