Scene One: Weekly Meeting with our Sponsors

On Friday, 26 October, we had a meeting with our sponsor liaisons, Crispin, Juan, and Megan, at their office on 44 Wale Street to inform them of the research we did during the preparation phase. The meeting allowed them to give us feedback on where we should be focusing at this stage in the project. Based on these discussions and discussions with Sheila and Ronell we have been able to redirect our project’s focus to meet both our sponsors and Sheila and Ronell’s goals and needs. The sponsor meeting on Monday, 29 October allowed for an update of our field work since the Friday meeting and for Sheila and Ronell to get a sense of where the project is headed from the sponsors’ point of view.

Cast of Characters
After arriving to Maitland Garden Village and meeting Sheila and Ronell, we walked to the Community Centre to find Juan, Crispin, and Megan, our sponsors, ready for our meeting. Scott and Bob attended our meeting, as well as the help centre team, Edmund, Jules, Andrea, and Andy.

Our sponsors from left to right: Juan, Megan, and Crispin

As we started our commute for the day, the wind was howling, so much so that it made it difficult to walk at times. Walking through the village, on occasion we would get sand in our eyes; It was by far one of the windiest days we have had yet while in Cape Town. It was nice to reach the Community Centre and get out of the high winds. Originally the building was two separate homes, but they were converted into one building to be used for community space. It consists of a small office, a bathroom, and a large room with a pool table, kids chairs and tables, and crayon drawings hung up on the walls. At one end of the room, Juan, Crispin, and Megan were sitting around a table and there were empty seats waiting to be occupied. Ronell laid out cookies, tea, and coffee for everyone before we started our meeting.


  • Who are important people on the TRUP Committee for us to get in contact with?
  •  What are their affiliations beyond TRUP?
  • How involved with heritage do you want our project to be?
  • An update on the November 16 TRUP Steering Committee meeting?
  • Is there a format for the proposal?
  • What content would be of most importance for the draft proposal?
  • What, where, who, and how of acquiring subsidies for starting a community agriculture/farming business?
  • What will we be doing each day this week?
  • Who are key Maitland Garden villagers to talk to in regards to heritage as well as gardening projects?
  • Who will be working with us on a regular basis?

Action and observation
We began discussion with our visit to Company’s Garden on Friday, as well as our experience at Village Day. We recapped Friday’s meeting for Sheila, Ronell, Scott, and Bob. One of the important topics of discussion today was with whom we should meet and talk in regards to people who are affiliated with TRUP and the government. The idea of Maitland Garden Village becoming marked as a heritage site was discussed. Scott made sure that it was understood that there could be serious consequences to making the village a heritage site, such as gentrification. He was mainly concerned about housing since many people in MGV do not own their housing and rent it from the City.  MGV residents are upset that the City does not maintain their properties, but making MGV a heritage area could help with this.  Another outcome could be that housing prices will skyrocket so that current residents cannot afford them. Crispin still felt it was important for us to look into the heritage aspect of the village though, as they just want the information so as to assist them in making an informed decision on whether or not to push for the village as a heritage site. Juan told us that for the content of the draft proposal, strongly and clearly communicating the desirability of the pathway, and the benefits and threats of the pathway and marking the village as a heritage site will be key. This will heavily be done through mapping since it will show the connection of desire lines into a pathway and where key features can be located. Through the meeting, it became clear that we should split our team into two groups of two, so that one group can conduct interviews, such as those ones in regards to heritage, and one group can work with people involved with gardening, so as to develop marketing and business strategies for produce sales. An update on upcoming meetings and presentations was made as well just to make sure everyone was in the loop. Bob told us about an urban agricultural project in Indianapolis that could be of particular use to our project.

Sheila was able to give us a list of names of Maitland Garden Village residents with whom we should talk about gardening and heritage. With Sheila, we were also able to plan our days in the village, so that each day we have a set plan of what tasks we will accomplish. We discussed with Sheila different potential funders as well, such as businesses in the Nashua Business Park. Such stakeholders/funders are important to contact and potentially have representation on the TRUP committee. Scott and Bob also discussed recognition certificates for those people who consistently work with us on the project, so as to build people’s sense of participation. The hope is that they will continue to work on the project in a dedicated fashion after we leave and take the reins to some degree. Ronell and Sheila were able to think of several people who they see as potential candidates for such a position.

Reflection and Learning
When discussing MGV as a heritage location, there was some contemplation as to whether recognizing MGV as such could potentially do more harm to MGV than good. Our advisor, Scott, mentioned this to our sponsor liaisons today when this topic was brought up and seemed concerned. He reminded our sponsor liaisons, who work in the department of heritage management, that we will always keep the security of MGV first in mind. It made our team wonder whether this could potentially cause tension between our sponsor and the community we are working in. From the City perspective, it is a department that deals with heritage and therefore they are looking through the lens of creating a heritage area. From Scott’s perspective, he has worked in MGV for a year previously and has built community connections. Our team hopes to allow understanding between each party, integrating the perspective of MGV residents. Sheila was particularly interested in making MGV a heritage area because she is hopeful about the housing situation. It is our current understanding that the city department we are working with is only interested in understanding if MGV is a good candidate for a heritage site and not making any developments, both considering inherent heritage aspects and the community’s reaction to it.

Overall, it was nice for our group to meet with multiple parties involved since we have been juggling all of their points of view in separate instances.  This meeting was a way for us to be very specific about our understanding of the project and what each stakeholder’s understanding in the project was.

Future plans:

  • Look for startup capital for the pathway initiative.
  • Create a list of contacts to make connecting with stakeholders easier
  • Begin proposal development
  • Meet with potential stakeholders
  • Work on spreading the word about work that has already been done in MGV for pathway development such as last year’s project
  • Interview community members about heritage by asking Ronell and Sheila to connect us with interested individuals