By Max Rambau, CORC
Architecture students from the University of Johannesburg recently reported back about the community mapping process at the informal settlement Ruimsig.
Representatives of the City of Johannesburg, the community and the Informal Settlement Network (ISN) were present. In total, about 40 people attended the meetings, which were structured into four groups at different venues.
Group A, which met at a local shebeen, reported about their mapping and Mampho’s house which is very big and nice with five backyard shacks in a spacious yard. Mampho built her house with bricks she had collected from a rubbish dump and only spent R1640.00.
They went on to report about Mampho’s family lifestyle and that both her and the husband were unemployed but are managing to fend for their family by doing some piece jobs.
The second report-back by Group B was held at a spaza shop. They chose to report about Thomas’s house (No. 209) because he was the first person to stay there in 1982. Thomas also built his house with used bricks from the dump site. He has built a very big house. Building his house and paving the yard cost him about R21000. The students had not yet measured the size of the house but only the yard and were going to do that later. Thomas generates electricity with four petrol generators. People watch their soccer matches at his house. There are also electronic game machines where local children pay to play them. Thomas has also built fireplaces outside where they cook their food. There are tenants in the yard who pay from R120 to R400 per month.
Group B went on to report about Mashudu’s house. This house (No. 171) was chosen because it has a very beautiful yard. Mashudu comes from Limpopo and her husband is from Mozambique. The husband also does some odd jobs. In December, Mashudu goes home in Limpopo and her husband goes home to Mozambique.
Group C reported from Albert’s house. They reported that most of the people in that section of Ruimsig had big yards and they mostly came from Venda. The yards are big, and there are tenants staying there, but most of the owners do not stay there. More than eight owners are not staying there. They reported that some tenants had moved with their house numbers from where they stayed earlier and as a result, house numbers are confusing in the area.
Group D was the last group to report. They reported from Albert’s house in an area called wetland. This area is not called wetland because it is a wetland. It is called as such because it is at a lower point, and when it is raining all the water from the rest of Ruimsig goes there and floods these shacks. The area is also congested. One resident has got eight tenants in his house. Alfred has a big shack that has many rooms where there are tenants staying. Most people staying there are working at nearby businesses and they walk to work.