African Journal of Estate and Property Management

African Journal of Estate and Property Management Vol. 1 (5), pp. 158-165, May, 2014. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Bringing ethics into housing debate: A case of Matapi hostels (Harare)

Jude Ossai1, Ariye Henrietta2 and Welligton Omerute3

1University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe.

2Planning Officer, Urban Development Corporation, Harare, Zimbabwe.

3Polytechnic of Namibia, Namibia.

*Corresponding author. E-mail:

Accepted 6 December, 2013


For quite a long time, in the long history of urban housing in Zimbabwe, the quandary of people living in previously known as ‘bachelors’ hostels in various urban centres, particularly Matapi hostels in Mbare (Harare, Zimbabwe), has often been overlooked. Thousands of people from distinct backgrounds currently occupy these hostels. This has inevitably brought a number of social ills that are detrimental to human well-being. Severe health problems are emanating uncontrollably due to the hostels incapacity to accommodate ever-increasing numbers. The question of urban health is greatly being compromised by this situation. Even morality, which is firmly rooted in religious and cultural backgrounds, is a case for concern. The uncontrolled manner of moral dissipation and momentous termination of the ubuntu of the habitants warrants research. As a result, this paper elaborates, explains and analyse the living conditions of the habitants in the hostels. Though the paper is largely qualitative, some quantitative evidence to augment discussions are not totally omitted, and its photographs of the case were also used.

Key words: Housing, morality, hostel, Matapi, policy, Harare.