A Development Vision for Informal Micro-Enterprises in Philippi East Industrial Area

SLF has collaborated with the Philippi Economic Development Initiative (PEDI) to produce a development vision for the Philippi East Industrial Area. The project rationale was to develop a strategy for accelerating economic inclusion in this area. The development vision was based on thorough research. This included a trader survey and census, geospatial analysis of formal businesses and street trade, a participatory engagement with traders, and several rounds of consultation with officials from the City of Cape Town.

The proposed development vision calls on the CoCT to formalise of street trade through the implementation of street trader plans upon the finalisation of the road infrastructure project associated with the MyCity bus rollout. SLF has recommended that the first such street trading plan be implemented in Protea Road, where implementation is technically and legally feasible. The development vision calls on the CoCT and its area partners (PEDI) to undertake investments in infrastructure to benefit street trade. Suggested infrastructural improvements include shelter for traders; storage facilities; access to water, electricity and sewerage; improvement in street lighting and surveillance; and access to public toilets.

The vision advocates for the development of a business hub which, if establish at a favourable locality within the precinct, could accommodate street traders as well as micro-enterprises and formal businesses. Such a development could be enhanced through the provision of community infrastructure. In this respect, the project identified the need to establish a formal taxi rank, a multi-car washing facility (drawing on renewable water sources), a test driving done and business units for vehicle services and repairs.  PEDI will now advance support for the development vision through engagement with the CoCT, private business and development entities. A summary version of the report will soon be published on the SLF web-site.

Action Research and Community Engagement Workshop held in Kerala, India.

Between 5 February and 12 February 2018, SLF staff members Rory Liedeman and Farida Ryklief attended a global gathering hosted in Kerala, India. The workshop event formed part of a five country collaboration with The Institute of Development Studies (UK) in connection with a project funded by The British Academy entitled “Building sustainable inclusion from intersecting inequalities to accountable relationships”. At this meeting, two important outputs were produced. The first, a collection of statements from all five country partners, including South Africa, where participants managing various action research and community engagement processes around the world, were provided with an opportunity to comment on their experience of building accountable relationships through their work. The statements have subsequently been developed into a visual product (film) synthesising some of the key pathways to accountability that the various groups navigated. The second output is the production of country policy briefs to be shared, together with the collective film, with high-level policymakers from various partner countries. The outputs will be shared at the next Sustainable Development Programme in April 2018. Research findings will be shared from projects around the globe and will include SLF’s work with the Delft Safety Group led by Rory Liedeman since 2015. Various thematic areas will be covered, such as sustainable governance, sustainable growth and sustainable human development. The aim is to provide important lessons to improve policy for sustainable development. An exciting announcement in relation to this is that SLF has extended an invite to Alderman Jean-Pierre Smith to participate at the high-level event. The Alderman has subsequently accepted and was recently approved by Executive Mayor Patricia De Lille to make the trip. The roundtable discussion will be held on Tuesday 17 April between 12.30 and 4.00 pm at the British Academy (10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London). For more information please check our Facebook and Twitter posts.

Second Successful Solutions Lab: Unlocking Land for Micro-enterprise Growth (ULMEG)

As part of the completion of the SLF project ULMEG, SLF in collaboration with UrbanWorks held the second successful ‘solutions lab’ workshop in Cape Town on the 23rd of March 2018. The ULMEG projects main aim was to tackle land constraints on micro-enterprises in the informal economy. Micro-enterprises are often forced into informalisation due to the regulations around obtaining a title deed and complying with land system requirements, giving entrepreneurs no choice but to trade illegally. We have termed this reality: ‘Enforced Informalisation’. Land management systems and land rights are inappropriate for micro-enterprises. WHAT needs to be done?

The workshop aimed to generate practical answers to the following three questions:

How do we enhance the security of land tenure?

How do we simplify land use management systems for business formalisation?

How do we enable business growth and development on high streets?

The event brought together a group of specialists to discuss solutions for unlocking land. The participants were drawn from industry, provincial and local government, civil society organisations and academia. The event generated robust discussion on the topics of land use title and rights, the need for an appropriate land use management scheme, and the importance of micro-enterprise formalisation. SLF is in the process of documenting the outcome which will be published in early April.

Thireshen Govender showcasing the results of our research on land systems constraints in Ivory Park.

SLF conducted a participatory action learning process in September of 2017, to document the actual experiences of individual micro-entrepreneurs in their efforts to respond to the land use constraints which impact their businesses. See our latest report on the themes that emerged from 10 stories which document personal experiences of spatial injustice.

Bucket Loads of Health Enkanini Workshop

Our Wellcome funded Bucket Loads of Health public engagement project has got off to a flying start. Last month we spent a wonderfully creative week with a group of 12 men and women who live in the informal settlement of Enkanini, in Stellenbosch. Over five activity-packed days the group reflected on water accessibility in Enkanini and their most urgent water-related needs. They also shared their perspectives on past and present research activities – including projects focussed on water – carried out in their community. The Enkanini residents worked together to produce community maps, body-maps, role plays and musical accompaniments and relayed personal stories about their most challenging water-related experiences. This unique body of individual and collective artwork illustrates the difficulties faced by all Enkanini residents around access to clean running water and how drainage, decent sanitation and effective waste disposal are almost completely absent in the settlement. In-depth group discussions revealed how these challenges intersect and compromise the health, well-being and dignity of the community. The maps, stories, music and drama performances will be shared later this year with a group of water microbiologists who are currently doing research on rainwater in the informal settlement.

Enkanini Creative workshop: Community mapping and body mapping



                                        Enkanini Creative workshop: exploring the sounds of water. Participants working together to link different sounds of water to memory, culture and personal experience.


During the month of April, we will be facilitating our second five-day creative workshop, this time with participants who are residents from Delft. For further updates and information about the Bucket Loads of Health project, keep tuned to SLF on Facebook and Twitter, as well as the updates link on our project page (



Informal Economy

The Delft Safety Group Attend the SAVI Conference and the Launch of 16 Days of Activism

SLF continues to support the efforts of the Delft Safety Group (DSG), who, together with other community based organisations, are taking the lead in advocating for improved safety and other positive social changes in various areas in Delft. The group’s work builds upon a 3-year collaborative partnership with SLF team, exploring how a participatory approach can foster citizen led contributions towards improving safety and security in Delft.


Our current project with the DSG aims to continue opening safe spaces for engagement to occur between marginalised groups and other stakeholders including peers, community, business, service providers, funders and government. The work recognises the importance of providing opportunities for citizens to speak out in inclusive and responsive spaces, to break silence and convey a collective citizen perspective around what is really happening in Delft. These opportunities are part and parcel of the journey to enable those who are most marginalized to move away from experiences of exclusion and fear, and to build sustainable and inclusive relationships with government and other duty bearers.


On Friday the 24th of November 2017, SLF and the DSG were invited to participate in a 16 Days of Activism Programme with Provincial Parliament. SLF proudly represented the marginalized voices of the Delft community whilst wearing #DelftLivesMatter T-shirts. The objective of this event was to focus on 16 Days of no violence against woman and children. The event allowed various community organisations to network towards future collaborations/partnerships and to engage in gender based work. Organisations were invited to exhibit their work and conduct short presentations. The SLF/DSG collaborative will be presenting their work at an upcoming open day in Parliament on the 9th of December 2017.


And once again, the DSG were invited to present at the Safety and Violence Initiative (SaVI) conference, on the theme of Preventing violence and promoting safety in fragile and insecure environments’. The conference took place from 27-28 November at the River Club in Observatory, Cape Town. This DSG  presentation included the first public viewing of “Be the Voice”, one of three collectively made films produced by the group this year that speaks specifically about the risks and the vulnerabilities that community leaders face at the ground level while working in places like Delft. The remaining two films highlight the life threatening challenges that young people continue to face while living in Delft, and the resilience of the human spirit – against all odds. Both of these factors play a key role in driving citizen action against the atrocities and inequalities that occur in their everyday lives.

– By Farida Ryklief and Rory Liedeman





A Conclusion to the “Addressing School Dropout” Project

In 2017, SLF Director Andrew Hartnack has been a research/knowledge partner in the DG Murray Trust’s “Addressing School Dropout” pilot project, which sought to test a number of models to prevent high school learners from leaving school early. Hartnack visited eight NGO-run projects throughout the year to document the work each was doing in schools with grade 8 and 9s. Organisations were based in Cape Town, Paarl, Swellendam, East London, Pietermaritzburg and Tzaneen.

This project yielded great insight into the varying contexts of the South African school system which make learners vulnerable to leaving school before grade 12. It also identified several innovative approaches which reduce the risks of dropout and can work to assist vulnerable learners to do better in school and complete their secondary studies. Hartnack has written several reports and background papers for the DGMT during 2017 and will be publishing some of this material in academic journals in 2018.

Unlocking Land for Micro-Enterprise Growth: A Solution Lab

SLF has embarked on a research project entitled ‘Unlocking Land for Micro-Enterprise Growth’ (ULMEG), which has grown from the findings of our flagship project ‘Formalising Informal Micro Enterprises (FIME). Through FIME we have illustrated ways in which land use management systems have intentionally (as well as unintentionally) reinforced Apartheid era town planning and spatial injustice, instead of nurturing economic growth. Compliance with land management systems is near to impossible for micro enterprises, giving entrepreneurs no choice but to trade illegally. We have termed this reality: ‘Enforced Informalisation’.

In order to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges that current land-related policies bring to entrepreneurship, the ULMEG research process included a visual story-telling workshop, facilitated by members of the SLF team back in October. Four men and six women who run small businesses in the townships of Philippi and Delft participated in the workshop. All of these participants have a strong interest in land use issues and are affected by land management systems in their daily lives. The businesses that they represent include unregistered Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, informal liquor outlets and trade on the street. SLF Director Dr. Andrew Charman also took part in the workshop, sharing his own story about the obstacles of land policy from the formal small business perspective (SLF). The 10 digital stories that were produced through the participatory visual workshop shed new light on the ways that land use management has an impact on the personal lives and livelihoods of township entrepreneurs. 

To view the final products of the 4 main digital stories, please follow the links below:



As part of the SLF project ULMEG, SLF in collaboration with UrbanWorks held the first ‘solutions lab’ workshop in Johannesburg on the 22nd of November. The objective of this event is to facilitate a discussion among influential stakeholder from civil society, government and business around the challenge of unlocking land in the township economy. To inform the discussion, SLF/UrbanWorks showcased the results of our research on land systems constraints in Ivory Park. This research details the specific land use systems that impact on business development and enterprise formalisation in 12 case studies. The research output comprised a visual exhibition and a publication available via the SLF website. In addition, the participants were given copies of our study on ‘Post-Apartheid Spatial Inequality’ and shown two of the digital stories on the experience of people seeking to formalise their business in Delft and Philippi. Some of the most memorable quotations from the subsequent discussion were: ‘there is a deep seated structural bias against township business’; within municipalities ‘there is paralysing fear’ which inhibits land use change; millions of urban black South African still don’t possess title deeds whilst ‘the idea that black people can have the same title as whist is still [an] alien [concept]’; ‘not all land is created equal’; and ‘companies have a role in solving.


By Nathi Tshabalala and Dr Andrew Charman



Philippi Trading Plan Project

October saw the Philippi Trading Plan team hold two very successful participatory design workshops. The workshops took place at a sports hall in Philippi with two different groups of street traders from Protea Road and Sheffield Road. The aims of the workshop was to get design ideas from street traders themselves as to how the environment can be improved for trading and to discuss the implications of the BRT road construction. An important aspect in achieving this was understanding what the main issues and challenges are that are keeping informal businesses from growing in Philippi. In teams, participants discussed, modelled, created, drew and imagined a variety of exciting designs both for improving the public environment as well as their individual structures that would allow their businesses to grow. The next step for SLF is to take the design ideas into consideration and, using a combination of appropriate ideas, will present a potential design back to the street traders for feedback. These workshops were thus only the beginning of a long participatory process and relationship with informal traders that will ultimately result in the conception of a vibrant street trading hub in Philippi.

-By Kayla Brown



Twitter 1

SLF Wins A Wellcome Public Engagement Award

Bucket Loads of Health

Gill Black recently won a Wellcome Public Engagement award which will enable the continuation of SLFs work to engage communities in public health and health science research, throughout 2018. This will be achieved through a participatory and creative project called Bucket Loads of Health which responds to the severe drought and high level water restrictions that are currently affecting the City of Cape Town. The project will bring a team of water microbiologists at Stellenbosch University together with participants from three communities in Cape Town that vary significantly in water availability.


In the first phase of the project the community participants will work with audio and visual methods to reflect upon their individual and collective experiences of water shortage and water saving, and communicate their perspectives on the health implications of these practices. The outputs of these innovative engagement methods will include body maps, personal stories, musical narratives and short films, creating multiple platforms for co-learning.


A series of interactive workshops between the community participants and water scientists will enable the creative outputs to be shared, and foster dialogue about the health risks associated with using alternative water sources – especially the storage and recycling of rainwater and grey water for household use. These workshops will also provide an opportunity for the scientific team to explain their microbiology research to a public audience, and inspire collective thinking about novel and practical measures to increase the safety of water recycling efforts in different settings.


The knowledge and information that is generated through the project will also be relevant and accessible to government representatives and members of other communities in the City. This work will emphasize the importance of public engagement in making scientific research more accessible and relevant to communities and policy makers.


We are looking forward to building a new partnership with Professor Wesaal Khan and her team on this project, and sustaining our links with world class scientists at Stellenbosch University.


Bucket Loads of Health kicks off in January 2018.

-By Gill Black