The goal of this project was to encourage community engagement in the redevelopment process of Monwabisi Park by increasing interest in the Indlovu Project with an improved response from outside agencies. We also sought to establish multimedia communication as a sustained practice for understanding and advancing community interests.  This goal was achieved by completing the following objectives:

  • Establish photography as a sustainable community initiative.
  • Develop the community co-researcher program to contribute to and sustain redevelopment efforts.
  • Document community members’ thoughts on redevelopment including issues, concerns and opinions.
  • Facilitate contact with outside agencies to establish community involvement programmes in Monwabisi Park

Project Evolution

Our project changed considerably when we arrived in Monwabisi Park. Our initial project proposal entailed working a great deal with participatory video and participatory photography. Within a week of beginning our work, through talks with the VPUU and SNAC , it was revealed that there was some tension as well as sensitive relations among local groups, community members and the Indlovu Project. Co-researchers were not immune to the tension either. They were caught in between the priorities of the community, the Indlovu Project, and WPI. We were still able to make meaningful connections with them, but it took time. Participatory video required the communications team and the co-researchers to work a great deal with the community through an exchange of ideas. We decided that refraining from developing this aspect of the project would be the preferred option. We feared that the extensive interaction required may exacerbate tensions and prove counterproductive. However, we were able to overcome the tensions and get a lot of meaningful work and research done.

Communications team and co-researchers

Photography as a Community Initiative

To provide an outlet for the community to become involved in the redevelopment process directly we introduced photography to the Indlovu Project.  Through a participatory photography program the co-researchers began exploring photography through documenting their lives, the community, and the redevelopment process.  The experimentation with photography quickly developed into a proposed photo service. You can learn about the proposed photo service and methodological details of planning and prototyping it  here.

Advancing the Co-Researcher Program

Throughout our time in Monwabisi Park, we connected with the co-researchers to create a comfortable working environment, coordinated the co-researcher program, and provided technical training to the co-researchers.   After a series of ice-breakers the co-researchers worked with WPI teams on prject ideas and conducted surveys and interviews in the community. Through these relationships the WPI projects were able to advance and evolve through an exchange of knowledge and teamwork.  Provided with technical training the co-researchers were able to develop skills and establish our photo shop.  Read more about the co-researcher program here.

Exploring Community ViewsDSCF0201

Before we could help the local residents become involved Ïin the redevelopment process we discovered that we should first identify their concerns. From this, we explored community thoughts on redevelopment in Monwabisi Park by investigating and conducting personal interviews working with our co-researchers to conduct and document the interviews.   Read about the interview process and results here.

Bringing Outside Organizations to Monwabisi Park

Expanding on the idea of community involvement, we thought the involvement of outside organizations would be a great way of bringing the community together as well as raise awareness about the Indlovu Project. We researched possible outside organizations and chose two to contact. The two organizations that we contacted were False Bay College and the University of Cape Town. We were unable to meet with the University of Cape Town due to the busy time of year we were in Monwabisi Park, but we moved forward with two promising programs through False Bay College.  False Bay College, a twenty minute walk from the Indlovu Project, provides a youth initiative program to informal settlements and provided assement exams to community residents. Learn more about the process involved in setting up these programs here.