Act I Scene III: The Outsiders (October 26, 2015)



This was the first day we went to K2 after our tour of the settlement. It was also the first time we interacted with community members other than Mdu and Mabie. Sizwe facilitated introduction activities between the team and community members. It was during this point that the team realized that there would be no youth in our group of co-researchers. Introductions soon transitioned to discussion of project ideas. The community unanimously selected a community hall as the focus of the project, shifting away from ideas such as decentralization of toilets, formalization of the youth group, and improved access in the settlement. We looked at a map, drew up potential spaces for the hall, and measured potential locations. The community members, especially the women, discussed the pros and cons of each site and they came to the conclusion that the hall would be next to Mdu’s house, and the netball court would be moved.

Cast of Characters  

CORC representatives: Sizwe, Simbonge

K2 Community members: Mdu, Mabie, Neziswa, Zusakhe, Akmona, Babalwa, Spirookazi, Asandiswa, Lamla, Sandile, Nandi

WPI team: Paul, Cam, Amy, Veronica, Justice


Outside a shebeen (tavern) in K2.


The day began with a high gesture of welcome – one and a half litres of Coke. The WPI team got its first real taste of what it was like to be a part of K2. We were led by two familiar faces, Mabie and Mdu, into a shebeen, a local drinking tavern, where pool tables were the main focus of the room, with beer menus and televisions along the walls for use during drinking hours. We stayed under the roof waiting for new faces to arrive. When introductions finished, the WPI team and seven members of K2 went outside to the open space extension of the shebeen and settled around a small circular table surrounded by pallet benches, Castle lager boxes and milk crates. Before we could suggest our introductory activities, Sizwe took the reins.

He asked us to split into smaller groups and discuss what exactly it was that made us who we are. We spoke of where we came from and what makes us who we are, as well as the people we interacted with and the people we cared for. Laughter slowly worked its way into the conversation, and with the aid of a few smiles, we began to see some early bonds form. Unfortunately, as we have grown accustomed to, our comfort was short-lived.

Discussion of the community hall opened up and it didn’t take long until we were completely enveloped by an intense dialogue. The WPI team found itself slowly sinking away from the conversation. The most frustrating part was not that the K2 members were talking over one another, nor that our ideas were not being entertained. It was the ten consecutive minutes of Xhosa that may as well have been silence to our unknowing ears. Mdu explained that it was easier for people to speak to everyone in Xhosa to get ideas across, but without communication between the community and our team we felt like there was no room for us to participate. Without being able to offer ideas or comments for the community to explore, the WPI team spent its first drawn-out afternoon without the aid of our advisors huddled into the furthest corner of the discussion blankly staring at the sporadic hands jumping across the table, each accompanied by a separate voice demanding attention. In all the commotion the team again wondered how it would promise a successful project when we couldn’t even decipher what the community was talking about.

Reflection: Today was frustrating because we were excluded from the conversation due to the language barrier, and no one was making much of an effort to translate for us. We understood their need to speak in their language about their community, but we felt as if our input on matters might have been helpful to the flow of the discussion and the progress of our team dynamics. Our ideas were not being heard, and we decided we would make more concrete plans for Thursday so that we could progress in the.