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.




Friday, July 20, 2012

Build week: Day 5

by Tuliza Sindi

What we hoped would be the final day of building met us with an interesting addition of work: raising the roof. A long discussion was had between Buccs, Japie (the welder) and myself about ensuring the stability of this already fragile structure. Rather than lifting it 1m high, we resorted to raising it only 0,4m high. Although all of the 1:1 team members had reservations about successfully lifting the roof and bracing the columns, community members insisted that it could and should be done and finished by Friday. With our focus forcefully deviated to this task, the hopes of completing the project today dwindled.

As some of the JCP students continued with the tarp over the gumpoles, others went to work on sanding and cutting planks of wood for the east seating edge. Carin came and spoke to us about possible details for the bench, which sent Frank Jnr., Bonga and I on a hunt for more wooden planks.
                                Scrap wood from the factories would be perfect seating

As we went, Japie commenced with the roof by welding a structure that would act as a transfer beam when the columns get cut to be raised. They started on only the eastern columns first, with several community members needing to hold up the roof while Japie displayed his welding skills.

Frank Mpendulo and Bonga Nyembe, members of the Slovo Khayalami Youth Forum

Due to an error in judgement, a smaller window was opted for on the south side's left corner. This meant that the wall now used a lot more brickwork than we had planned for.

Panic consumed us all when the west columns got cut and the transfer beam fell, thus making the roof collapse. One of the workers sprained his ankle and was treated and bandaged, while others worked on restabilizing the roof.

                                                          Japie and his team

What was a consistent problem on site was communication. Omar, Clare and I were in charge of resolving construction issues, but only Omar was heard. Sometimes Clare and I were left to tell Omar what the solution was in order for him to tell them so that it could be heard/accepted. When Omar left, they requested to speak to him on the phone rather than to get those answers from us.

As we all agreed that Saturday be used as build day, we were saddened by the realization that the JCP students will no longer be with us.

So there's no signing out yet; we are certainly looking forward to what tomorrow has in store for us!
Photos by Ingmar B├╝chner