Lighting Proposal

Monwabisi Park Lighting Proposal

Figure 1: Center: High Mast, Sides: Low Mast

Figure 1: Center: High Mast, Sides: Low Mast

Monwabisi Park is situated in the southeast side of Khayelitsha along Mew Way, abutting the Wolfgat Nature Reserve. It is home to an estimated 25,000 residents. One of the most significant problems the park faces is a serious lack of outdoor lighting, an issue that creates an atmosphere conducive to the high crime rate within the park. There are two high mast lights inside the park and five within illumination range. These high mast lights are essentially what is used to illuminate large outdoor spaces, such as parking lots. There are low mast lights along the major roads bordering Monwabisi Park, but they only cover the front of the Park and one cross section between M and C sections. As a result, the vast majority of Monwabisi Park remains unlit or in shadows after sunset.

This proposal recommends simple methods of increasing lit areas in the Park, reducing opportunity for crime and increasing the safety of residents.

General Information

There are two styles of lights:

  • High Masts (shown center of Figure 1)
    • Advantages: reduces vandalism, increases area covered, reduces shadows, fewer masts required
    • Disadvantages: reduces brightness of light, more costly to build and maintain each mast
  • Low Masts (shown sides of Figure 1)
    • Advantages: brighter light, easier maintenance, each mast is cheaper
    • Disadvantages: higher risk of damage/theft, more shadows, more masts required

The lights are located in different places throughout the park. Low mast lights are located all along Mew Way and Steve Biko Road, but cast very little light inside the Park itself and do not extend much higher than the shacks, which cause deep shadows in many areas. Figure 2 below shows the current location for high mast lights, shown in yellow and labeled “HML,” along with a corresponding number. There are only two lights located inside Monwabisi Park, one at the end of M-Section and one in C-Section next to Steve Biko Road, and five lights across Mew Way in Harare.

Figure 2: Current High Mast Lights

Figure 2: Current High Mast Lights

From interviewing the co-researchers, we know that the high masts effectively light the area as long as they are on, and the city responds quickly to replacing bulbs. The major problem, however, is that not enough of the Park is lit at night, making travel dangerous. In fact, few people leave their house at night, and many do not feel safe even inside their homes. Although additional lighting cannot prevent all crime, it can improve a person’s chances of avoiding being victimized. Residents prefer the lighting and feel it creates a significantly safer atmosphere.


The goal of this proposal is to provide a framework with which to produce adequate lighting for Monwabisi Park. This section will give a basic method under which to proceed. Since the actual method of construction is well known and used by the City of Cape Town, this proposal will not cover that information. It will, however, provide suggestions for when and where to build new lighting.

Each type of light is better suited to different situations. The low mast lights are better suited to formal roads, as these will be heavily traveled and not prone to diversions or changes. In addition, low mast lighting gives a formal road a more personal feel, cultivating pride in the community. High masts are chosen for informal roads because of the roads impermanent nature. A high mast light that covers a much larger area will not be made obsolete with the changing routes of travel and can cast more light into narrower areas. These features are beneficial in an area where paths are often no wider than one’s shoulders and can change in a single day.


We suggest the construction of 11 more high mast lights. These are shown in Figure 3 below. Seven lights are already being constructed by the city, and these are shown in blue. We suggest constructing four more lights, one in each section. This will result in an effective total of two lights per section along the back border road of the park. M-section will only have one constructed in it, but the third mast in C-section is directly opposite M-section and effectively covers the area. Each section will also receive an additional, new high mast. In M-section the extra light will be added near Mew Way. In C and B sections, each light will be placed in the middle of the section, along a major pedestrian thoroughfare that also has vehicle access. In A-section, the light will be added along a major path, near Oscar Mpetha Road. The location of each light is meant to cover a major area of travel, often at intersections or turns of the largest roads, both formal and informal. In addition, the lights are on a vehicle access road, allowing construction equipment to reach the locations easily.

In addition to these new high masts, we recommend that low mast lighting be constructed along each new paved road as it is constructed. The lighting will go along the side of each road, on either poles or attached to a two story building. If there is a sidewalk on the road, the lights should be placed on that side in order to minimize shadows and dark areas around pedestrians. This will greatly improve each new road’s lighting and immediately make it a better travel route. The probable increase in travel will also make the road safer by increasing the number of eyes on the street to witness potential crimes.

Figure 3: Proposed High Mast Lights

Figure 3: Proposed High Mast Lights


The city has already begun to add seven of these lights, beginning the process of improving lighting in the area. The additional high masts should be added as soon as possible to improve pedestrian safety along these major travel routes, as well as to hopefully reduce crime in each area. The extra lighting will deter possible crimes and increase a potential victim’s awareness of their surroundings, thus improving their chances of avoiding an incident.

Low light masts should be placed along each new, paved road as part of its basic infrastructure. Since it is unknown when the first of these roads will be laid, no specific date can be recommended for the construction of low mast lighting; however, they should be built at the same time as the roads in order to simplify construction and reduce the number of disruptive and expensive construction jobs.


This additional lighting can greatly improve the safety of pedestrians inside Monwabisi Park after dark. The high masts can have an immediate effect and the low masts can have an increased effect when they are constructed with the new roads. Both styles of lighting provide valuable services that together will be beneficial in the redevelopment of Monwabisi Park.