Ten masters students from the School of Built Environment and Development Studies participated in a three-day workshop for young planners.
The Young Planning Professionals’ Workshop brought together young planners from across the globe to discuss solutions to developmental problems facing many countries.
The UKZN students, selected to represent the University and KwaZulu-Natal, are currently studying towards their Master’s degrees in Town and Regional Planning.
‘We are very excited to have been chosen to represent UKZN. We have never had an event like this in the school,’ said Miss Mbalenhle Ngidi.
The group, who felt the event had put the University’s’ Planning Department on the map, said they gained valuable knowledge from the experience.
‘It is refreshing for women to be part of the programme as the field is dominated by men,’ said Miss Zinhle Mnikathi.
‘Historically, planning was used to segregate South Africa to create what we are trying to recreate as aspiring planners. It is very important to be involved in such a great initiative in order to resolve such issues,’ said another student, Miss Sinenkhosi Dlamini.
The students said that against the background of the recent student protests, the conference had come just at the right time in regard to transformation in terms of access to services and land amongst other issues.
They said planning was not just about the technical aspects but it also fired the economy and society and that it was important for young South Africans, especially young Black men and women, to be part of the industry in order to impact change.
‘The workshop has created an opportunity for UKZN students to network with other young planners across the globe and within South Africa,’ said Dr Hangwelani Hope Magidimisha, an academic in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies and a chairperson of the Young Professional’s Workshop. ‘I hope they will keep in touch with each other so that they can continue learning from one another.’