Act II Scene I: Touring Tuesday (November 10, 2015)










In our first weeks in the settlement, our co-researchers expressed the community interest in building a community hall. This would serve as a meeting space and have the potential for other uses in the future. We had already looked at potential spaces for the hall and discussed pros and cons for each location. For the moment, the hall would be next to Mdu’s house. Mdu had suggested the idea that the team visit the community building in different communities to motivate the members and show tangible examples of what they might want. Squeezing 13 people into the van, we drove to TT Section and Monwabisi Park, both located in Khayelitsha. TT’s community hall was made of zinc metal and wood, and Monwabisi Park’s centre was a structure made of shipping containers.

Cast of Characters  

K2 Community Leaders: Mdu, Mabie

K2 Community members: Neziswa, Zusakhe, Babalwa, Ficks, Nandi, Sip

TT Community Members

ISN Leader

CORC representatives: Simbonge Mqini

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


TT, an informal settlement in Site B, Khayelitsha


The team and community members pile into the van. Mdu rides in the passenger seat directing Neville, our driver, to our first stop on our day of adventure. Some Xhosa is spoken here and there but the conversations are fluid amongst WPI and K2 team members. Neville pulls the van over. Mabie slides open the door and greets a member of the TT community while we wait in the van. Some time passes and we begin to wonder what is taking so long. Finally, the community is ready for the team to step into their world.

Having a few weeks of informal settlement knowledge under our belts we feel confident in our abilities here. However, our false sense of confidence is short lived as we wind through these alien shacks. The journey is long. There is no direct path to the TT community hall so we scrape our boots on unfamiliar terrain dodging new obstacles such as dogs, baskets and barbed wire. Without our guides we would be destitute and this feeling harkens back to our first helpless days in K2.

Upon arrival at the hall, we are impressed. Not only is it well-built and useful, but it also went up in one week through the work of six people. The K2 community members scatter around the place to give it their best inspection. Ficks shouts, “Nine metres!” as he paces out a wall and turns sharply to measure the next. Sip’s and Babalwa’s eyes scan the robust ceiling and Mabie and Mdu stand quietly and slowly nod their heads. The TT ISN coordinator gathers everyone inside for a discussion. She speaks in Xhosa and our community enthusiastically fires back while the WPI team clusters around Sim, our CORC liaison, as she translates. After the community is satisfied, we ask a few questions of our own. How much did it cost? Why did you build this? How was it funded?

With all of our burning questions answered we step back out of the cool hall and into the baking sun – satisfied with our findings thus far, but eager to learn more.


The team was very happy about the enthusiasm of the K2 community. The tours went how we hoped they would and gave everyone new ideas on how to proceed. It felt like our ideas were being improved upon by going to these communities, and the day ended on a positive note. We look forward to seeing what exactly the community members learn from today. The tours were also eye-opening for the WPI team because we were able to go with our co-researchers as one team. In addition, it was helpful to see how the community members got more motivated with the project and became more anxious to move forward. On Monday, CORC representatives mentioned that they had been working with K2 for eight months and that community members continuously shifted their ideas and opinions. For this reason, community members are pushing for a physical improvement or change in their community to show all the work they have put in. This could mean that our design will change again many times before it is final, depending on what the community wants. Our main priority is helping the community decide what is best for them. We only hope we can figure it out in time for us to make it happen.