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 (



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



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

PMA Goes International

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Contributor: Rory Liedeman


March 2017 was an extraordinary month for SLF’s Participatory Monitoring and Accountability (PMA) research team, for two main reasons. Firstly, from 5 March to 10 March, Farida Ryklief, Soeraya Davids, Sinazo Peters, Joanna Wheeler and Rory Liedeman attended a week-long participatory workshop, as part of a larger South African delegation travelling to Italy. The gathering was hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation at the Bellagio Centre and brought together various stakeholders (including academics, government/decision-making officials, researchers, citizen and community-based organisations) from around the world to participate in an exclusive global event that aimed to explore the theme of how to build inclusive and resilient cities. It provided our group with an important opportunity to share the PMA experiences, methods, achievements and future plans with people beyond our South African borders, while allowing for a number of new connections and friendships to be made in the process. Included in the South African delegation were Mr Jonathan Tim (Chief Director at the Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation) and Professor Laurence Piper (University of Western Cape – Political Studies).


Creating Inclusive and Resilient Cities participant group, at the Rockefeller Foundation Centre, Bellagio.


After returning from Italy, the team dove straight into hosting an international workshop of their own (13 to 17 March). This was the first of two planned International Collective Workshops to be held by partner organisations, as part of the new British Academy work recently awarded. SLF represents the South African partner and the new funding allows for the important PMA work that the Delft Safety Group (DSG) helped to achieve in 2016, to continue for another year. The workshop brought together partner organisations from South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, India, Uganda and the UK, all working on citizen-led accountability. The process was also supported and co-coordinated with the help of the Participate initiative at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex (UK). The meeting provided an important opportunity for all project partners to participate in both the learning of a new participatory research method, but also in an important project peer review and learning process. The workshop aimed to unpack and discuss key issues such as ‘the role of public communication in community safety’ and culminated in a roundtable dialogue discussion that brought together members from partner countries, duty bearers such as members of the South Africa government/local councillors/key decision makers, academics and other civil society stakeholders, each of whom have committed to fostering on-going dialogue between highly marginalised groups such as the Delft Safety Group. The timing of the Cape Town workshop was ideal, as it coincided with a period in South Africa when key actions were being taken to implement laws, in accordance with the vision and objectives of the new White Paper on Safety and Security.


Our international guests learn about the SLF PMA power analysis process from the Delft Safety Group.

Developing Effective School Dropout Interventions

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Contributor: Andrew Hartnack


Since late 2016, SLF has been part of an exciting and important pilot project, funded by the DG Murray Trust, to examine which kinds of approaches aimed at reducing the drop out of at-risk teenagers from school can be most effective. SLF has a grant from the DGMT to play the role of a knowledge partner to nine organisations working at schools and with teenagers around the country. The work, led by Dr Andrew Hartnack, involves understanding what model of intervention each organisation is developing and what the potential impacts of such models can be over the course of the 18-month pilot and beyond.


Of the nine interventions, six are based around the Western Cape, with one each in East London, Pietermaritzburg, and Tzaneen. Some projects focus on academic support to struggling learners, others focus more on psycho-social support, while a number offer both forms of support. One project focuses specifically on after-school programmes, while another tries to improve the school’s support of struggling learners through the strategic analysis of data on school performance.



In February and March Hartnack visited all the projects to observe their activities and learn about the contexts in which each is operating. He interviewed many school principals and teachers, as well as project staff and young people involved with the interventions. Besides gathering information on each intervention, SLF’s role as a knowledge partner involves helping each organisation to reflect critically on their intervention, and incorporate lessons emerging during the pilot into their practice. Lessons and insights from all nine projects are also passed between the organisations to foster the best possible approach, as well as a ‘community of practice’ as an outcome of the pilot phase of the project.


Hartnack will be visiting all nine projects again in May/June, as well as towards the end of the year to learn much more about their exciting and crucial work.

Eveline Street Exhibition Series

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Contributor: Andrew Charman


The SLF ULMEG Project (Unlocking Land for Micro-Enterprise Growth) seeks to investigate and engage with policy makers on land related constraints which hinder the development and growth of micro-enterprises in the township context. One aspect of this project has been to examine the potential of redeveloping high streets to enable enterprise regulation and formalisation, particularly for those enterprises that confront onerous regulatory requirements. To learn about the outcomes from different high street redevelopment approaches, the project undertook a study of Eveline Street in Windhoek, Namibia, where the City of Windhoek initiated a scheme to rezone township high streets, a measure which benefited the many leisure related businesses operating along Eveline Street. The research provides a retrospective insight into the spatial, social and economic transformations which occurred subsequent to the rezoning initiative.


The findings from the Eveline Street study were presented in a series of exhibition events under the title: Transformative Leisure Economies. The events took place in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Windhoek. Over 200 people attended the three events, including political leaders, policy advisors, government officials, academics and business leadership. The feedback was extremely encouraging, with stakeholders referring to the research as ‘game changing’ and deserving of ‘serious engagement by city politicians and offices’.  A technical report detailing the main research findings is available on the SLF website. We are currently re-analysing the Eveline Street case material to explain how high street redevelopment can contribute towards Transit Oriented Development outcomes, an emerging outcome in South African metros. This component of the research is been supported by the South African Cities Network.



The next phase of UMLEG will examine land related constraints in the case of Ivory Park, one of the FIME sites situated in Johannesburg.

Competition Commission Research on the Road

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Contributor: Andrew Charman (on behalf of Leif Petersen)


As announced at the end of last year, SLF has been contracted by the Competition Commission to undertake research across all nine provinces on competitiveness within the spaza sector. The study aims to interview 1800 business owners and operators, using (where possible) a modified version of SLF’s small area census approach methodology.


As of the beginning of 2017, the field research team has been on the road, surveying urban, peri—urban and rural sites across all nine provinces in South Africa (as of the beginning of May, only KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape sites remained to be surveyed). Some of the research has taken place in previous FIME sites, providing an opportunity to compare the study results with the data collected during the FIME process from 2010 – 2013. One aspect of the research aims to understand value chains in the spaza sector, identifying the different business models, distribution systems, and studying linkages between shops on wholesalers. Another component of the research will examine product integrity, seeking to identify and gain a measure of the role of grey market, illegal and contraband products within the sector (already, very interesting results have been found in this regard). In the course of the research, the team has systematically photographed the research process and taken photographs of interesting business dynamics and products. A selection of these images have been displayed on the SLF Facebook site. For more information on the project, contact Leif Petersen.


Community Careworkers Organise Stakeholder Engagement Event

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Contributor: Miriam Waltz


“We clock in and out under a tree whether it rains or is hot… we are like goats or dogs,” says Nozuko Fos, a Community Care Worker (CCW) in Nyanga. She adds: “They are playing games with us,” referring to the Department of Health, with whom the CCWs have repeatedly tried to address their working conditions. CCWs do important work by delivering primary health care to communities, but they are systematically underpaid and receive inadequate support from the Department of Health and the NGOs that they work for.


Citizen action and government responsiveness were the focus of the Making All Voices Count initiative, a global partnership to research and promote accountability that SLF has been involved in from September 2015 until May 2017. SLF’s engagement in the initiative included four thematic streams. The health case study started in October 2016 and included a CollectiveVoice process (a combination of photovoice and collective filmmaking) with a group of CCWs from Nyanga.


The group of CCWs organised a stakeholder engagement event at the Endlovini community hall in New Crossroads on 4 April 2017 and invited care workers and other allies from a number of organisations. As Nozuko puts it: “The first thing to do is to show people who don’t know we work under these conditions and to expose the NGOs.” About fifty people from community and various organisations came together to watch a screening of the movies the CCWs made. This was a very moving gathering that led to mutual support and a call for action to create further awareness of the conditions in which CCWs work. Many of the attendees who worked in primary health care shared their own experiences and the afternoon was filled with tears and songs.


For the CCWs involved in the filmmaking, this was encouragement to continue their activities. They have worked to articulate a clear message supported by the short films, which they will use to take their campaign forward and hold government accountable. As they put it: “We are proud, but we are tired. We are the superheroes, because we assist those who cannot assist themselves.” And they want to be recognised as such.


Everliving Film Screening at the Labia

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Contributor: Miriam Waltz


On 16 November a group of Rastafarian bossiedokters (herbalists), in collaboration with SLF, hosted a film screening at the Labia Theatre in Cape Town. Titled ‘Everliving’, the stories showed how bush doctors face police harassment, exclusionary conservation polices, lack of access to land, and mistrust. The stories also explored the bush doctor’s identities as healers, fathers, sons, and community elders, and their relationship with nature. The stories were created through a personal storytelling for transformation (PST) process facilitated by SLF in April this year, and were part of the Making All Voices Count (MAVC) project.


The event drew an audience of about 35 people interested in conservation and social justice. After a short introduction of the MAVC project by Joanna Wheeler, Elder Neville introduced the first four stories, which showcased films reflecting aspects of everyday life, of biography, and how the storytellers came to live and believe and do what they do. A brief discussion after these four films addressed questions from the audience around how the bossiedokters became Rastafarians and how they obtain their knowledge about medicinal plants. Leif Petersen spoke about the Herbanisation project, which some of the bossiedokters were previously involved in and which was the focus of his story.


Elder Reuben introduced the second set of movies, centering around ‘persecution’. These three stories directly addressed experiences of oppression or occasions where the freedom of the bossiedokters was constrained. Part of the ensuing discussion focused on the question of permits. While some audience members suggested that the bossiedokters should lobby for better permit conditions, as other groups of mountain-users have done before, some of the bossiedokters objected that this is against their belief-system and their views on nature and private property. The conversation went to common objectives of bossiedokters and conservationists and the challenges the latter group faces in doing their work. In the end, it was clear that for the Rastafarian herbalists, it was their spiritual need and right to go to the mountain and laws and regulations were seen as radically constraining, not just on their physical bodies and their livelihoods, but also on their identity and spirituality.


Competition Commission Grocery Market Award

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Contributor: Mapaseka Dipale


The Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation has been awarded work by the Competition Commission to conduct a research study on grocery markets. The Competition Commission is one of three independent competition regulatory authorities established in terms of the Competition Act, with the other two being the Competition Tribunal and the Competition Appeal Court (formerly, the Competition Board). These are functionally-independent institutions, but are administratively accountable to the Department of Economic Development.


The aim of the study is to understand informal businesses that sell groceries. These can be house shops, spazas or food vendors in the street. The study will be conducted in all nine provinces across the country and we will cover rural, peri-urban and urban areas. By the end of the study we hope to have interviewed 1800 business owners. The research study will take 5 months to complete and it will consist of the following core team: Leif Petersen, Nathi Tshabalala, Anthony Muteti, Mapaseka Jack and Camilla Thorogood.


Camilla and Mapaseka have recently joined Sustainable Livelihoods. Camilla is currently doing her Masters, with her thesis focusing on nutrition in educares. She recently conducted interviews for this in Vrygrond. Mapaseka is an analyst focusing on GIS Mapping and analysing data. She has a background in Computer Science and Accounting.