by Yolandi Viljoen
Slovo Park is situated in a politically and socially sensitive stretch of land south of Soweto. The community has been known by national government as Nancefield, by local council as Olifantsvlei and in the last five years as Slovo Park – named in honour of South Africa’s first minister of housing and former Umkhonto we Sizwe General, Joe Slovo.
The forced changing of identity reflects an on-going struggle faced by the leadership of Slovo Park to gain recognition as a legitimate settlement to access governmental support. This battle has been fought through constant shifts in governmental policy, power and promises for the community of Slovo Park. Their only tactics comprising of service delivery protest, painstaking formal requests for upgrade and currently a lawsuit against the City of Johannesburg.
Currently the community of Slovo Park with its development partners are strategizing this key social and political move.
Japie and his team
Buccs and Japie are adamant to raise the roof, with or without our help. We discussed many options, and we were worried about the structural integrity of the columns if they were to be cut and extended. I can however not argue with someone who has done steel welding for 20 years, so I phone a friend, a civil engineer, for a professional opinion. He gave the unofficial go-ahead. Buccs and Japie are convinced that it will be done before lunch time tomorrow. Success to be confirmed…
By the end of the day, we have not completed all the welding as planned, but that is how it goes. But the progress is finally visible! The windows will be installed tomorrow, and with our generously sponsored paint, we will coat them with pride. The walls, benches and columns are also on our list, so is the wooden seating.