Reflecting on 2018: Part 2

Rebecca Plumbley

As we reach the end of 2018, we look back on ten significant projects and events that happened this year. This is Part 2 of the list.

6. Herb Market Fire

On the 29th of July a fire destroyed around a third of the Traditional Herb and Medicine Market, burning the stock and some personal belongings of around 77 traders. Whilst the response from the city has been limited, the show of resilience of the traders and communal response in the rebuilding process was encouraging. As an outsider walking through the market today one may not even notice that a fire occurred at all- though there is still desperate need for a roof as the hot summer months begin. Around $2000 was raised through a crowdfunding campaign and this money has now been distributed to the effected traders.

A trader surveys the damage to her goods. Photo: Phumelele Mkhize.

7. Horizontal Stove

This year great progress was made with a new design for a cook stove for the mealie cooks. The reimagined stove uses less fuel and produces less smoke, meaning it has the potential to significantly improve the working conditions for the cooks. The stove has been named Qeda Usizi, which means ‘End our Suffering’, by the cooks. This was thanks to the commitment and enthusiasm from students from MIT Create and MIT D-Labs. As we begin 2019 we hope to find funding to further develop these stoves.

Trang Luu, MIT intern, and Patrick with the mealie cooks testing the horizontal stove. Photo: Asiye eTafuleni.

8. Urban Development Framework

AeT is part of a project team for a new urban development framework in a secondary business district just outside of Durban. Whilst much of the work that has been done in Warwick Junction is a reaction to the existing urban conditions, this project has allowed for investigation into what proactive approaches can be taken to include informal workers in urban plans from the start. This process has allowed for AeT to spend time considering what constitutes ‘best practice’ for informal trading infrastructure.

Proposed market space for business district outside of Durban. Sketch: Richard Dobson.

9. Urban-Livelihoods and Nurturing Care Study

AeT will be continuing on a study of urban livelihoods and nurturing care in Warwick Junction in 2019. This project is in partnership with the World Health Organisation and will be looking at informal workers who are also mothers of children 3 years or younger. The project will build off of prior Umzanyana work and aims to understand the ways in which mothers care for their children in a street environment, and provide design and technical support to refine their interventions to improve these conditions.

Sketch from preliminary work on informal worker mothers. Sketch: Phumelele Mkhize.

10. 10 Years of AeT

Founded in 2008 by Richard Dobson and Patrick Ndlovu, October 2018 marked ten years of Asiye eTafuleni. The work achieved over the past ten years is a testament to the organisational capacity of the NGO. Richard and Patrick reflect on 10 years, saying:

“My highlight and achievements of 10 years of AeT are as follows: First that we were victorious in our efforts of protecting Warwick Junction Precinct from the destruction of its legacy and job opportunities for almost 10 000 informal workers before the 2010 World Cup. Second, that lives were saved by stopping herb market designs facility that was going endanger hundreds of people we participated in co-designing a more appropriate space that caters for the occupational health and safety regulations. Finally, that we could influence some trader leaders to be activists of change and be fearless in challenging unjust and oppressive laws and policies.” Patrick Ndlovu

“It has been a privilege to have been alongside informal workers over these past 10 years. It has been an opportunity to learn and assist when invited, as informal workers adopt and adapt public spaces for their livelihoods and in the process have become real shapers of their city. We are witnessing the theoretical becoming the practice- hugely exciting.” Richard Dobson

Richard Dobson and Patrick Ndlovu. Photo: Phumelele Mkhize.

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