The VW B-BBEE Initiatives Trust commissioned SLF to develop a suitable strategy for township economy development in Uitenhage. The project was undertaken in two phases. In phase 1, SLF undertook extensive field research and micro-enterprise survey in the settlements of KwaNobuhle, Rosedale and Langa. In phase 2, SLF collaborated with UrbanWorks Architecture and Urbanism to identify projects with high potential of contributing towards catalytic growth. In developing this strategy, SLF consulted with specialists in government, service businesses and representatives of the Trust. The team also facilitated participatory workshops with 82 township entrepreneurs. The experiences and perspectives of these different stakeholders aided in refining ideas and the identification of potential relevant projects to benefit township entrepreneurs.
SLF held participatory workshops with township entrepreneurs from a diverse range of business sectors. These township entrepreneurs consisted of seven groups which included pensioner recyclers, automotive mechanics and motor enthusiasts, hairdressers, young creatives, and outliers. At each workshop, participants shared their experiences, challenges and successes, thus enabling us to understand the opportunities and constraints for each type of business. Our participatory methods in the workshops included problem solving, collective brainstorming and collaborative design. The participants worked together to create plans, designs and models of development solutions for their businesses, including concepts for shared workspaces.
We proposed 12 projects: I) The People’s Automotive Academy, II) High Street Activation, III) Area Activation Nodes, IV) Street Business Infrastructure, V) Recycling Stokvels, VI) Hairdressers & Beauticians, VII) Outlier Entrepreneurs, VIII) Automotive Businesses, IX) Creative Studio, X) Taxi Formalisation, XI) VDUBelopment and XII) Development Facilitation. Check out the project summaries here. Main components across the projects include infrastructure improvement, enterprise development, technical training, provision of equipment and project management. Many of these projects share linkages and synergies, but have been designed in such as way so that they can each be implemented as individual projects. The proposed projects take into consideration constraints and opportunities. It is important for government and private sector businesses to play their roles in order for the proposed projects to achieve maximum impact.
The People’s Automotive Academy
The People’s Automotive Academy is a flagship project, proposed to promote social cohesion by bringing the communities of KwaNobuhle, Rosedale and Langa together, celebrating their common interests around the motor vehicle. This Academy will be a multi-purpose space, catering for a variety of community needs such as opportunities for recreation, training and skills development centres, and business opportunities. The Academy could benefit mechanics and car restorers, learner drivers, car spinners, market traders and the Uitenhage community. It is also an opportunity for private businesses to contribute towards township business development. Urban Works created a scale model of the Academy.
The Era of Township Motorsport
The short film, ‘The Era of Township Motorsport’ was created in collaboration with automotive enthusiasts from KwaNobuhle and Rosedale, during their participatory workshops. Watch the film below, to understand their passions, perspectives and visions for township motorsport, and see design aspects of the People’s Automotive Academy.
Exhibition and Presentation at recent VW B-BBEE Initiatives event
SLF’s field research and proposed projects were showcased at a recent Volkswagen B-BBEE Initiatives Trust event in Uitenhage, and were the highlight of the day. Dr Andrew Charman presented on our research and introduced the proposed Uitenhage township economy development strategy. The complex findings were conveyed as a visual poster exhibition. The People’s Automotive Academy scale model was on display, and attendees could view the ‘The Era of Township Motorsport’ video.
SLF looks forward to further collaboration with the VW B-BBEE Initiatives Trust and other stakeholders to explore avenues for advancing these projects to implementation. We are confident that the 12 proposed projects represent the ‘best-bet’ for bringing about transformative growth in township micro-enterprises in Uitenhage.