South Africa | Underberg >> Mthatha

Underberg - Mthatha | January 1, 2011

On the first day of 2011 MovingCities drove from the Southern Drakensberg Mountains, via the inlands of the Eastern Cape to Mthatha. The long drive provided an excellent view on how South-Africa’s housing development is integrating with the local landscape. Thin, everywhere, dotted, colorful, instant, construction confetti, basic, necessary, granulated, totally-not-China-like, bright, again-and-again architecture, adaptive,… are the words we find back in our diaries. Scenes while speeding along settlements.

Little did we know that our feeling of a vibrant and rainbowesque rural habitation of the Eastern Cape was by others analysed as characterized by uncoordinated and inefficient spatial development as a result of dispersed resources, coupled with a demand for land and access to perceived economic opportunities [source: UN-HABITAT]. While staring in awe, while counting, comparing and capturing, little did we know that “the housing delivery in the Eastern Cape is under the microscope, having once again attracted the scrutiny of the national Department of Housing and the media” [source: Afesis]. But we knew that these structures show shortage, necessity, organization and culture. We knew that Many of South Africa’s black leaders — including Walter Sisulu; Bantu Holomisa; Buyisiwe Yonela Mhlana and Nelson Mandela — come from this area, and the retired Mandela still visits his home village of Qunu some miles south of Mthatha [source: Wikipedia]. But weren’t aware of the existence of the Province of the Eastern Cape Human Settlements-website.

Two words. Build it.

Underberg - Mthatha | January 1, 2011

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