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The Victoria Mxenge Housing Project

Women Building Communities Through Social Activism and Informal Learning

The Victoria Mxenge Housing Project by Salma Ismail
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In 1994, at the beginning of South Africa’s democratic change, the Victoria Mxenge Housing Project was founded by a group of 12 women who lived in shacks on the barren outskirts of Cape Town. These women had come from rural areas and were poor, vulnerable, and semi-literate. Yet they learned how to build, negotiate with the government, NGOs, architects, and building experts, and form alliances with homeless social movements locally and internationally. The desolate piece of land they occupied is now a thriving, sustainable community of more than 5,000 houses. Over a period of 10 years, author Salma Ismail tracked the history of the Victoria Mxenge Housing Association, from its start as a development organization to its evolution into a social movement and as a service provider. This text weaves together perspectives on the usefulness as well as limitations of “popular education.” It highlights the value of local and traditional knowledge, experiential learning, and learning in an informal context, and illustrates how women relate to and interact with knowledge. It taps into the growing international interest in social learning in the context of the growth of social movements. This book is a welcome addition to the literature for adult education students and social activists throughout the developing world.
University of Cape Town Press; July 2015
192 pages; ISBN 9781485115632
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Title: The Victoria Mxenge Housing Project
Author: Salma Ismail