The School of Built Environment & Development Studies (BEDS) recently hosted learners from Umbumbulu and KwaMashu as part of the School’s visioning programme which involves Andrews University in the United States, eThekwini Municipality and a local NGO, Siyabanakekela.
The learners were tasked to work in groups of 10, alongside architecture students from Andrews University in an effort to uplift the communities of Umbumbulu and KwaMashu through innovative architectural designs that would be implemented in stages by the team.
‘Through architecture, we hope to change the communities for the better,’ said Professor Andrew von Maur of the United States. ‘The learners are part of this process and contribute immensely to their communities. It also opens their eyes to career prospects, especially in the fields of architecture and community development.’
The pupils presented what they had learned through interactive story-telling and engaged in a panel discussion on youth development and education facilitated by project leader, Professor Ernest Khalema, involving UKZN Architecture Lecturer, Mr Laurence Ogunsanya, representatives of Andrews University’s School of Architecture, uMbumbulu Councillors, and eThekwini Municipality officials.
Said Khalema: ‘Our strategy in community development is to link up with potential NPO and NGOs which will mutually benefit students and communities. We are aware that developing such partnerships takes time, hence the engagement with Siyabanakekela and the Ubuntu project. Their partnership with Andrews University is something that we are developing and hopefully we will come up with an agreement to work together with the Ubuntu project and Siyabanakekela.’
UKZN Architecture students also conducted a project review for Andrews University students in partnership with the Durban University of Technology (DUT).
Said Ms Zandile Majola of eThekwini Municipality: ‘This project equips learners from poor communities with the necessary skills to make good career choices. As the eThekwini Municipality, we support this project and we commend UKZN, Andrews University and Siyabanakekela for their efforts.’