There has been a lot of activity in Havelock recently. In this post, we present an update on what the UKZN team (Dr Claudia Loggia, Dr Judith Ojo-Aromokudu and Mr Viloshin Govender) and community researchers have been up to.
In October 2018 we started our Phase 5 engagement activities with community researchers. On the 23rd October 2018 we had our first Workshop at the University where we discussed their own interpretation of upgrading (as a process that brings to a better situation- they used the isiZulu word 'Ukuhlelwa' which means arrangements taken for dwelling upgrading), together with their priorities. Community Researchers (CRs) clearly indicated as their favorite priority the re-blocking of the settlement and they discussed the key challenges related to that, namely the issue of land tenure - part of that is privately owned- the environmental challenges -steep and dense site prone to natural hazards -floods, fires and mudslides. They said that they would like to start with a small (pilot) project just to show how things can be done, to mobilize the rest of the community. In fact, as emerged many times during fieldwork in Phases 1 to 4, there is still a rooted dependency syndrome whereby people are expecting that the municipality does things for them (delivering houses and services) instead of being proactive and doing the development themselves. After discussing their priorities, the CRs identified their preferred channels of communication to be used for the toolkit, namely social media, radio, newspaper, and YouTube videos. We critically analyzed the function of the 'toolkit' as a set of different resources that support communities involved in upgrading process and can prove how things can be done together.
On the 7th February 2019 we had our second workshop and we discussed the process of reblocking since it had been identified that as one of the top priorities. Using the drone map of the settlement as a base map, CRs mapped the key attributes of the settlement and identified the developable areas around Havelock. CRs showed a good understanding of the process and the related issues and seemed very determined in doing something that can be used as a pilot for the rest of the community. They said that it is crucial to show the Havelock residents that reblocking can be effective. They thanked us for providing them with pictures and maps of the settlement (drone maps) that are very useful when they interact with municipality and NGO.
On the 3rd April 2019 we had our third workshop at UKZN - perhaps one of the most interesting ones so far. We started discussing the format of the toolkit and all the participants agreed on social media, newspaper and video documentaries. Most importantly, the participants imagine this toolbox as a 'living conversation' ('ingxoxo' in isiZulu) to learn more about upgrading and sharing knowledge and experiences. We then discussed the main challenges that affect the settlement and prioritized the interventions. Apparently the most urgent intervention would be to clear the stream - where sewer pipes from formal houses spill out - and there are blockages due to waste disposal and dense vegetation. The stream floods every time there is heavy rain. Re-Blocking was then discussed again using the drone map.
On the 17th April 2019, Mr Viloshin Govender and Dr Claudia Loggia went again to do a more detailed drone mapping of the stream and to take a video showing the stream blockages and all the interlinked issues. They verified in the GIS map that sewer pipes from formal houses spill out in the stream -this confirmed the CRs' argument. The idea now is to work on this video and engage with the municipality to get some support to clear the stream. This process could show that co-producing knowledge with academia, local communities and local government can lead to action and change.