Second Interview with Yolanda

Thursday, December 11th

This was our second visit to Flamingo Crescent. It had only been 27 days since our previous visit, but the community had seen substantial changes since then. In the past few weeks, a playground was built in the center of the community, electricity was connected to every shack, and a crèche was almost finished for the children. Since the community members were seeing significant developments in their life, we wanted to talk to Yolanda again to see how she has been feeling about these dramatic changes.

When we arrived, Yolanda was sweeping the dust and trash at the playground. Although it took her a while to recognize us from the last time we interviewed her, she was excited to see us again and agreed to have another discussion with us. The electricity was first connected in the community two and a half weeks ago. For a majority of residents in the community, electricity was new to them; however, Yolanda lived with electricity most of her life. She moved to this informal settlement after she retired a couple years ago, and has not had electricity since because a generator is too expensive. She is “very happy to have electricity back into my life again.”

After talking to city workers last time we visited the community, we were concerned the outlet was not properly suited for electric stoves since the power output was too small. However, Yolanda has not had any issues with it and has enjoyed cooking with her new stove. She also has a fridge and television and wants to buy a washing machine in the future. For her appliances and usage, the ten units the City of Cape Town provided free upon installation lasted about two weeks. Then, Yolanda purchased another R10 worth of electricity, about eight units, for the next two weeks.

Since Yolanda has experience with electricity, she helps many residents in the community who are not familiar with electricity. She explains how the electricity works and shares safety and energy saving tips in the community. Some community members overload the power systems by plugging in too many electronic appliances and then trip the system because they are not familiar with how it works. We asked whether the City of Cape Town provided any training or information sessions to the community on how to properly use the electricity, but so far, the community had not received anything. Luckily, Yolanda is very passionate about educating people about electricity, and with her help Flamingo Crescent community members can quickly adapt to their new life style.

Yolanda is very excited about the new electricity and the overall changes that are happening in the community. She is happy to assist people in adapting to their new lifestyles and wants to help people fully utilize their electricity. The improvements in Flamingo Crescent are inspiring her to see other areas for development in the community.