Asiye eTafuleni (AeT) was founded in 2008 by Richard Dobson and Patrick Ndlovu, two local eThekwini (Durban, South Africa) officials concerned with the widening gap between the city government’s urban agenda and the realities faced by Durban’s inner-city informal workers – a large and historic downtown community. Dobson and Ndlovu had both been part of a municipal urban regeneration project, an experience that informed their belief that informal workers should be engaged with through consultative processes.
AeT founders believed that supporting informal economic spaces – markets, street-side vending, etc – should be integrated into the city’s planning and budgeting priorities with the aim of creating urban environments that are both supportive of informal workers’ livelihoods and create vibrant and culturally important urban spaces for the entire city. At the heart of this concern was a belief that work was critical to overturning the disastrous racial, economic and spatial divisions created within the city during the apartheid era.
From it’s founding in 2008, AeT has worked to develop strong relationships with local and international stakeholders, create new opportunities for research, design, advocacy and education around informal work and urban environments. Through it’s work, AeT has been recognized for its local and global achievements and provides an example of an integrated programme for the inclusion of informal workers into urban settlements.
Timeline of key achievements and milestones:
- 2008 – Founding of Asiye eTafuleni and commencement of the Inclusive Cities project;
- 2010 – Launch of the Markets of Warwick Tour in conjunction with the 2010 World Cup World Class Cities for All Campaign;
- 2011 – Preservation of Warwick Junction’s historic Early Morning Market and defence against local area mall development;
- 2011 – Mail and Guardian ‘Drivers of Change Award’;
- 2012 – First external competitive commission – Imagine Durban Inner-City Informal Recycling Project and AfriSam-South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) Award
- 2012 – AeT is chosen as a local research partner for the Informal Economy Monitoring Study – the first global, multi-year study on the informal economy.
Moving forward, AeT will continue to lead by example and challenge cities and towns worldwide to develop a creative and integrated approach to the informal economy, one that benefits informal workers, local communities as well as the broader global community.