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Public Spaces Stories

This series of stories was the result of a process of working with individuals from communities across Cape Town on their experience and use of public space during COVID-19. Funded by the Heinrich Boll Foundation and published over 6 weeks in the Daily Maverick print and online editions.

8 April 2021

Navigating Cape Town in a wheelchair: A daily act of protest

Ensuring public spaces are accessible to all is the first step to making a city truly inclusive. But, as I’ve come to realise in my 11 years in Cape Town, not everyone is consulted — or even considered — when it comes to the planning of a city. In the first of a series that will appear every Friday, we meet Makgosi Letimile, a wheelchair user from Observatory who is afraid to leave her home.

15 April 2021

Responding to Covid at street level: Working with love to feed hungry children in Imizamo Yethu

Sindiswa Manxeba started a soup kitchen out of her home in Imizamo Yethu, Cape Town, when lockdown began in 2020. She and her team work primarily to help feed the children of the nearby school, who queue in the street outside.

22 April 2021

Wheel-life solution: How Covid-19 made Khayelitsha woman rethink what makes a space public

In a country characterised by myriad gates, security personnel and other barriers, taking ownership of public space might entail both raising awareness of what public space means and thinking about our private spaces differently. Khayelitsha resident Khanya Qongqo takes us on her journey to this conclusion.

29 April 2021

On crop of the world: Cape Town neighbours plant seeds of hope during Covid-19

Zainap Salie says if she had the ear of policymakers she would ask for more public spaces, more trees and a school curriculum that teaches the value of urban gardens. In the meantime, she’s doing her bit to green her community.

6 May 2021

Art in public spaces: Letting Cape Town’s walls talk

Muizenberg-based artist Claire Homewood has, for the past two years, been painting a large mural by the St James Tidal Pool in the south peninsula. She believes art in public space is an important source of learning.

14 May 2021

Better in the long run: How a migrant businessman found the ‘essentials of life’ on the streets of Bellville

One of the best ways to explore a neighbourhood is on foot. That usually means walking when you’re on holiday. But what about running near your home? Local businessman Abdullahi Ali Hassan can vouch for this, too.

April-May 2021

Public Spaces in a post-covid urban Africa

Video interviews with six Capetonians reflecting on how COVID-19 has affected their experience of public space – not always only as a result of the pandemic.

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