Act I Scene I: New Beginnings (October 22, 2015)



Our project will be initiated in K2, an informal settlement in Site B of the township of Khayelitsha. The project entails partnering with the youth of K2 and our sponsors to create a program that strengthens the community through reblocking while also giving the youth an opportunity to make decisions that impact their lives. Our sponsor, the Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC) and the members of K2 will be working with us and our advisors, Scott Jiusto and Nicola Bulled throughout the next seven weeks, to make lasting impact in the community – and ourselves.

On Thursday, October 22, we met with the major stakeholders of the project. This initial meeting between CORC & Informal Settlement Network (ISN) representatives, K2 Leaders, WPI students and Project Advisors was set to begin discussion about what each group wants to achieve through this project. After an hour of discussion, the key ideas of the program mentioned were creating a multipurpose centre, having the youth be more active in the community, decentralizing the bathrooms and widening the pathways of the settlement.

Cast of Characters

CORC Representatives: Moegsien and Kenny

K2 Representatives: Mabie and Mdu

ISN Representative: Nkhokeli

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

WPI Professors: Scott and Nicola


Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC) Office


We arrived outside of CORC in our thirteen-person van.  After seeing the familiar CORC logo outside a large brick building we signalled for our driver Neville to pull over. In all of the excitement none of us actually knew where we were going. Soon we found ourselves in a quiet parking lot with an assortment of cars and motorbikes. We followed our instincts and climbed a staircase to a door with no knob— dead end. Descending the stairs, we banged on a slightly more promising door. A puzzled man answered our knock inquiring if we would like to order a pizza— wrong again. Finally, our third choice in door was the right one.

After the mild level of confusion and embarrassment, the CORC facility was a welcome relief. The kind receptionist and modern aesthetics of the company’s office were strong juxtapositions to what we perceived was the grey landscape just outside its walls. The receptionist ushered us through the main hallway of the building and brought us to the meeting room. Already there were our advisors Scott and Nicola, ISN representative Nkhokeli, CORC representatives Moegsien and Kenny and K2 representatives Mabie and Mdu. After a set of brief formal introductions our first meeting began.

The team was pleased not only to hear that most of the information discussed during the meeting was information we already learned through our research, but also that Mabie and Mdu had already drawn up plans for a possible project. Towering above the scattered shacks below, their three story multipurpose facility (consisting of an early child development (ECD) centre, wash facility, youth activities centre, and church) was fairly ambitious, but its guidance as a target was respected. As we fed off of this momentum we hit our first speed bump.

Mabie and Mdu were not yet prepared for the WPI team to visit K2. This was an understandable but unexpected detail. After weeks of preparation of our own and an eagerness swelling exponentially, this news was nothing less than frustrating. There was a brief moment of silence and then Scott spoke. We only have seven weeks to work in Cape Town so every day we wait is a day wasted, could we (the students) at least visit another informal settlement to begin learning? Moegsien chimed in support of visiting K2. Mabie was not as optimistic that community members would be ready for us to visit their home or share their opinions with us in a discussion. More silence. After some reluctance Mabie agreed to an escorted walk-through the next day with the possibility of getting to meet community members early next week. This compromise was not what either party had had in mind at the start of the meeting. The silence eventually melted away but the tangible tension remained.


The meeting concluded with a round of smiles and handshakes, but more significantly left us with a series of nerves, confusion and questions. Had the representatives not prepared for us? Had we not been prepared for them? Would communication be a major roadblock? Would our project make it off the ground? We, however, were pleased to finally meet with our sponsors as well as to start working in K2.