Ubuhle Buyeza: The beauty is coming… it is beautiful indeed when ‘interventions’ extend in scope beyond information gathering and evolves into collaborative co-creation that makes even just a bit of the world a better place. This is why I feel particularly fond of this poster which I have very quickly put together for Maurice who is presenting the Growing up in Cities project in South Africa at WUF (World Urban Forum) in Vancouver this week.
The children did not have any personal space in Thula Mntwana, an informal settlement.
When they drew pictures of Thula Mntwana, many of them included the park from the city – thus transposing strong, rich mental imagery in their lives, onto the mundane. They affirmed during discussion that they daydreamed about the park.
We put considerable effort, therefore, into ensuring that the centre became a reality and that the children were truly involved in all the stages of its coming into being.
We originally worked on the ground alongside the shipping containers. Maurice will remember that. But it is impossible to list and detail everything in the process — either on a poster or even in a presentation. One has to give an abstraction of the events that people can image in their minds.
The kids loved the Indaba tree. I asked them to find a place for us to work together. And when I arrived, they took me to the tree and showed how they had cleared a space around it and set out the stones to sit on and made a sort of table under the tree for the apples, hot dogs, atchar and coca cola etc that was our usual fare on Saturdays.
Maurice will represent GUIC South Africa in Vancouver (13-23 June) and will have a chance to meet GUIC project directors and researchers from around the world as well as key people internationally, who undertake participatory research and intervention projects with children.
Maurice has an MSc in Urban Planning (2005) and a three-day World Planners’ Forum will be part of WUF.
David Driskell and Sage Ferguson at Cornell University have been very generous in their efforts to bring South African GUIC representatives on board.
We wish him godspeed and we know, from past experience, that he will be enriched among people who have the best interests of children at heart.
More opn the project:
Informal settlement: Thula Mntwana (‘Hush child’) / ‘Weiler’s Farm’
Location: Region 11, Deep South: Johannesburg Metro.
Pop.: Orange/Weilers Farm area – 170,000
Age: 40% younger than 18
Employment: Mostly crafts and trade
Income: None – 50%; Below R1,500 (245USD) pm – 62% of remainder
Services: Low quality basic services – infrastructural & social
Parks in the Deep South: Parks in all townships are non-existent or generally poorly maintained. http://ceroi.net/reports/johannesburg/csoe/html/nonjava/Perspectives/state.htm
Development: R201,8m allocated by Dept of Housing in 2005 for brick and mortar houses and services in informal settlements (City of Johannesburg website: www.joburg.org.za)
GUIC SA through YIP (Young Insights in Planning Reg: 2006/003566/08)
PO Box 70990, Overport 4067, Durban, South Africa
Children of Thula Mntwana screening at WUF (World Urban Forum), Vancouver, through CinéUrbana in the UN Plaza on the exposition floor
Thursday, June 22 / Jeudi 22 juin
12 h – 15 h
Children of Thula Mntwana
Producer: Jill Kruger
Director: Shaun Cameron