Staff and students at the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (SoBEDS) took part in a youth celebration at the Methodist Church in KwaMashu, Durban.
The celebration stemmed from a collaborative project called Isulabantu - an informal settlements upgrade undertaking led by the community - which the School is running in collaboration with the School of Engineering, and the University of Westminster and the University Central London in England.
Dr Claudia Loggia is the Principal Investigator for the South African team and Dr M Christina Georgiadou is her English counterpart.
This interdisciplinary project aims to co-produce sustainable and integrated approaches for community-led upgrading. It explores construction, environmental management and urban governance in slum upgrading processes in the Durban Metropolitan area.
Said Loggia: ‘Our involvement in the celebration was a good, informal opportunity to show our commitment as academics and also our interest in collaborating with the community for upgrading informal settlements. This feeds into the overarching aim of the Isulabantu Project.
‘Through the uTshani Fund NGO, we also mentored the youth and provided them with information about the various UKZN programmes, financial support available, what the School of Built Environment and Development Studies offers and career options,’ she said.
The UKZN delegation included Mrs Judith Ojo-Aromokudu, Professor Oliver Mtapuri, Professor Matthew Dayomi, Dr Sithembiso Myeni, Mr Vincent Myeni, Mrs Slindo Shamase, and Masters Students in Housing, Mr Ronald Ncube and Mr Njabulo Zungu.
‘It was an inspiring day and very productive in terms of community engagement,’ said Loggia.