Two alliance members on M&G Top 200 list

The South African SDI alliance gladly announces that the weekly Mail & Guardian has selected two of its members for their prestigious list of Top 200 Young South Africans. Mzwanele Zulu from the Informal Settlement Network (ISN) and Ben Bradlow, research and documentation officer at the secretariat of Slum Dwellers International (SDI), are the nominees. “The yearly search for South African talent cuts through the clichés to find the country’s most thrilling potential precisely where it emerges from a context full of challenge, bewilderment and opportunity”, says editor-in-chief Nic Dawes about the selection process.

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Mzwanele Zulu emerged as a leader after a fire gutted 60 shacks in the Joe Slovo informal settlement  near the N2 freeway in Cape Town. He today heads the Western Cape branch of the ISN, a bottom-up agglomeration of settlement-level organizations of the poor, which is active in five cities. The network’s philosophy includes working with communities who are ready to help themselves and by doing so breaking the culture of entitlement and dependency on government. Zulu: “We want to change the way cities are planned and developed so that people are directly and actively involved”. Strategies include surveying and registering all informal structures in the city and developing the capacity of communities (through exposure to pilot projects) to plan and implement upgrading projects.

SDI documentation officer Ben Bradlow feels privileged to learn from “some of the most imaginative people in some of the most unlikely places”. He supports the new community newspaper uTshani Buyakhuluma. 4000 copies of the June issue are currently being distributed to informal settlements throughout the country.

To read more about the two nominees, please go to the following links

http://ysa2011.mg.co.za/category.php?youngid=79&categoryid=3 (Mzwanele Zulu) and

http://ysa2011.mg.co.za/category.php?youngid=66&categoryid=3 (Ben Bradlow)