Slovo Park at a Glance

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.




Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Build week: Day 3

Nelson Mandela Day

 by Abby Walsh

With most of the materials finally on site and the nation-wide energy of Mandela Day with us, we began a very successful and productive day at Slovo Hall!

Due to the first two days of build week being spent on finding necessary materials and the transport thereof, an objectives meeting for the rest of the week was of paramount importance. After a well-deserved dinner at Mapara’s last night, the group decided to allocate team members to the different jobs which needed to be completed by the end of Mandela Day. With the main objective of closing the hall, a focus was placed on building the brick walls and cleaning and installing the window frames.

 The 1:1 Pretoria Student League, the JCP students from the University of Pretoria, and Slovo Park community members.

Mr. Frank Mapara, hard at work.

A donation of building sand and cement from Takolias as well as the generous delivery of bricks from Corobrik, meant that the building team could focus on completing the seating walls of the hall. The students relied heavily on the experience and expertise of the community members for this. After a long debate and consideration of all opinions as well as Frank Mapara’s guidance, we were able to solve the level problems of the hall’s floor and the position of the existing steel structure which affected the laying of bricks and the wall height.
Adjacent to the wall building team was a very hard working window cleaning team (comprised of ladies of course!). Despite the limited cleaning resources, they made do with what they had and made headway with a very tedious job.

Kiana woke up very early this morning to fetch and deliver the shade cloth and cement from Rustenburg which she kindly organised. She still managed to get to Slovo  before lunch!

A donation of 30 x 2litres of soda drinks for the hardworking team gave everyone some new energy.

                                                 The seating walls are well on their way.

Julia and her team prepared lunch at Maparas and at 14:00 we had fried chicken and pap.

The confidence and productivity of the team seemed to attract the interest of other community members and soon we had many willing volunteers.

With an increase in helping hands and availability of resources (especially that of a much needed generator!) numerous tasks began taking place simultaneously: Kiana and Tialize took charge of measuring the timber for the seating and the shade cloth to attached to the colonnade. The JCP students made use of their welding skills to fix the children’s gym donated by Omar’s family. Omar did what he does best, which is project manage everyone and the building activity on site.

            3 Engineer students and 3 architecture students trying to figure out basic details.

Kiana measured out the sizes needed to make seating from old wood palettes which were sanded down on day 1.

A trip to the water plant down the road, gained us a bakkie load of aggregate for concrete. And to our dissapointment, we still short some riversand, and off to Takolias we went. We managed to get a load of riversand, and started mixing concrete to cast the footings.

Everyone was ecstatic when the delivery from Akhane Construction came at 16:30, and we started to unload the overwhelming amount of materials. What an amazing end to a very hard day of work!

Photos by Ingmar Büchner