Reporting Sets a Precedent for the Future


After a productive afternoon split into our three respective teams, we came together at the end of the day to report our progress to the larger group. This practice is to be continued every day so we can all stay informed in the different projects, learn how to report more effectively and come up with a plan for the next day.


Working group, Trevor & Alfred, Scott & Bob, WPI teams, Sizwe, Baraka


Outside of the wendy house on the afternoon of 23 October


Our second day concluded with all three teams gathering to report on the work that had been done. Scott requested that only the women report and that each group start with a member from the working group followed by a member from WPI. This process would allow the women in the community to practice reporting and public speaking, which are skills that they do not often use due to the male dominated culture.

The reblocking team started with Amanda reporting on the progress made with the material list and the issue of people having to be out of their houses during the reblocking process. During her report, Amanda was able to effectively talk about the work that had been done over the past hour, but at the same time, she seemed to be very uncomfortable. To ease her nerves a bit, Amanda would talk at one person in our group rather than addressing the collective group as a whole.

The multi-purpose centre team reported on their progress next. Phumelisa discussed how the building has been designed, but the number of rooms still needs to be determined.  Another aspect of this project is that the structure cannot be made from permanent materials because it may need to be moved for reblocking and rezoning purposes. A cost analysis must be submitted to the Municipality so the partners can reach a funding agreement. While Phumelisa was comfortable with the information she was talking about, she was speaking very quietly and looking for support from Alfred while she was addressing the group.

The final report was given by the group who got community feedback about the chemical toilets in Zwelitsha. When Siyanda began to give her report, she wanted to speak in Xhosa and have someone translate this into English. However, Scott and Trevor insisted that it is good practice to report in English. Siyanda brought up issues like the toilets blowing over, the lack of toilet paper, the poor water pressure, the clogged tap drain and the absence of electricity. Kholeka then assisted Siyanda in describing the other issues we found. She described the limited access to the roads in the upper section of Langrug, which makes it harder for the sanitary trucks to get to the toilets to clean them out. She also mentioned the perceived threat of snakes and the trash build-up. These two women did such a good job reporting our findings that the WPI student group members didn’t have anything left to say.


We feel this reporting activity is an excellent habit to start. The working group seemed like they could use some practice speaking to a larger audience and summarising their thoughts to present verbally. This type of group reporting will also be important in the future so we can all stay informed about the status of the various projects that other teams are working on. It was really fascinating seeing many of the working group members speak pretty fluent English to us in our small groups but then shy away from speaking English to the group. Siyanda was a really good example of this because she seemed like such a confident person in a smaller group setting. Our group viewed her hesitancy to speak English while reporting in two ways. Siyanda may have been uncomfortable with her English, though we feel she is one of the strongest English speakers of the group.  Alternatively, she may have wanted to speak in Xhosa so that others in the group who are not as strong with their English would be able to understand. We feel a lot of sympathy for the working group having to present and talk to us in English all of the time. If we had to present something in Xhosa, there is no way we would even come close to being able to articulate our thoughts and pronounce anything correctly. In the future, we would like to try to learn more Xhosa so the working group feels as if we are at least making an effort to communicate in their native language.