Emotional Impressions

November 11th, 2015


Street individual commemorating a loved one at the newly installed memory place


We are at SDR. We’re sitting in the middle row of tables on the side with the chairs. We are meeting with our co-developers to discuss the development of the memory place.


Cast of Characters:

Khulisa Team Co-developers – Arthur, Amanda, Izabela

The WPI SDR Team – Aaron, Brianna, Drew, Liz

The WPI Khulisa Team – Alicia, Keegan, Miguel, Tati



The day before, we and our co-developers had a meeting with Jesse where she made a quick mention about round planter bricks. Later when the team was at Chopchop, we discussed ways to make that idea work and how it would apply to the objectives of the space. The modular effect of individual bricks being painted on or planted in for specific street people who pass away came out of that meeting.



The team spotted Arthur walking up to SDR and decided that it was time to tell the group of co-developers about the memory space plan. We sat interspersed around the table, and started by reminding them of the initial concept of creating a memory space and its importance in recognizing the existence of street people as well as the storied past of District Six. We talked about how the conversation with Jesse the day before had mentioned this part of the project briefly. Miguel had a few pictures on his laptop of bricks we had seen around Cape Town to help explain the blocks that she had mentioned. The memorial wall was then explained.

Alicia stood and pointed out the window to show them the area where we proposed that the wall would be built. The plaque honoring District Six was mentioned and all followed with nods of approval. The continuation of the plaque’s proposed writing to explain how the wall was to be for honouring the members of the street community was met with smiles. As it was explained that individual blocks could be dedicated to specific people, the co-developers faces lit up. We said there would be benches somewhere for people to sit on and reflect and our co-researchers echoed our concerns about them being stolen or slept on. It was explained that the bricks hollow nature was to allow for flowers to grow and make it a beautiful place.

Izabela got very emotional. She said that she would wake up early to water the flowers in this garden every day. Theresa was smiling ear to ear as she said she loved the idea. One of them asked what exactly it would look like and we told them that we wanted them to help us come up with the design. Again, there were more smiles. We mentioned that if we could get the ball rolling and finish the wall before we left we could have a day where we started the wall by dedicating a block to Roy, who was one of the lot’s residents and passed away 4 months ago. Tati then mention that we could even dedicate a block to Izabela’s son. Izabela started to tear up.

We asked for their initial thoughts and for any additional suggestions they might have. They all expressed their approval of the idea. Izabela suggested that we include some trees nearby so the area would be shaded so people could reflect in the memory place more comfortably. We thanked her for her input and told all of them that on Friday we would sit down and finalize a first draft for the design of the Gardens of Life memory space.



Later that day, Team SDR members told us that one of their co-developers had told them that our co-developers felt like our project wasn’t going anywhere.  It’s understandable how they could have felt this way. We as a team didn’t really know what direction the project was going in until the afternoon of the day before the meeting discussed above. This week was very important as far as progress is concerned.

Our co-developers’ delight in the plan was two-fold. Not only were they excited to finally have a concrete plan to look forward to, but the proposed project was for them. They will be remembered through this wall. The assurance that one will not be forgotten when they are gone could bring peace-of-mind to anyone. The idea that they could honor those that they love using this wall clearly brought them joy, as well. We as an IQP group were happy to finally have a substantial piece of our project brainstormed. However, our enjoyment in the proposed plan pales in comparison to how overjoyed our co-developers are.

When Izabela started to tear up, it really hit us how much this wall could mean to the street community. The responses we got from different people all day really hammered home the fact that this memory space has the opportunity to affect the people of the area. Ricky mentioned that the proposed colorful nature of the wall felt nostalgic. It would bring back some of the color of District Six that was lost during the forced removals. It feels so good to have brainstormed an idea that could come together so well and honor all the objectives we wanted it to.

However, the expectations for this project have become clear. We have to do this right and ensure that all the pieces fall into place properly. Since this memory wall means so much to different people for different reasons, it would be tragic if it falls apart. The idea could fall apart in the planning stages or the wall could fall apart two years from now if the physical forces acting on it overpower it. However, building it so it stands the test of time is the desired goal.