Exploring Community Views

Sand bag housingExploring Community Views

As a first step in attempting to increase the involvement of the community in redevelopment the communications team decided to explore the current awareness of the Indlovu Project within the community.  The team started by talking with the advisers on how to approach the issue without appearing that we were promising anything or being intrusive.  They prompted us to speak with Di Womersly, head of the Shaster Foundation, as she is most directly involved with the Indlovu Project.  With Di we had a long discussion about the Tall Poppy Syndrome and its affects on the community.  From this conversation we were inspired to further investigates socio-economic uplifting and were prompted to contact  Nirmala Nair, a woman who has had experience dealing with the effects that one experiences as a result of living in an informal settlement. She was able to give us some insight into healing individual’s self confidence and trust that was lost during redevelopment.

After all of these conversations we decided to pursue participatory video and record community members thoughts on community involvement. The team drafted interview questions on redevelopment and presented them to the co-researchers and the advisers.  Both parties agreed that our questions were too abstract and that we should focus on more concrete ideas to gain the knowledge we were looking for.  In a discussion with Professor Bob Hersh, we discovered that prompting discussion about sandbag housing would lead to the answers we were interested in. We drafted a set of questions and a preamble to inform the interviewee that we were simply seeking information to help the Indlovu Project learn more about how sandbag housing would be accepted.  Through this information, we were able to learn more about the community’s involvement in the redevelopment efforts in Monwabisi Park.  We conducted seven videotaped interviews with community members. Each interview was run by Nodumo, a co-researcher, and video taped by Anele, another co-researcher. Most interviews were done in Xhosa with a brief recap at the ending in English. This was done because we wanted the interviewee to be at ease during the interview and not feel as though we were there to interrogate him or her. In six of the interviews, Noduma and Anele interviewed individual interviewees.  In one session, they interviewed a group of five people.