As we approached the culmination of our program down in Durban, there were some extensive reflections that needed to be made in order to evaluate various aspects of the project, as we seek to develop it even further in the future. However the evaluation would be too limited if we carried it out only by ourselves internally, therefore we needed another external point of view, to critically analyze the shaping up of the project, and give some guidance on how to keep the ball rolling. To help us accomplish this task, we were very much privileged to have the Indunas (chiefs) of the Umbumbulu town in a last formal meeting, to give us some feedback on the progress of the project.
Before the meeting could start, we experienced something of a culture shock as we had to wait for a period of about two after the scheduled time of the meeting. This is something that’s very common in traditional gatherings when you have to meet important people, and it is always appreciated when you patiently wait until the people are ready to meet you. When the Indunas finally availed themselves to us, they were very warm in their welcome and from there the meeting proceeded really well.
One of the key issues that was mentioned in this meeting was the prior experience of having projects such as this being proposed to the community, but unfortunately almost all the time they end up as nothing but unfulfilled promises. This issues a major challenge to us, to be accountable and credible for the work we have initiated. It was very pleasing to learn that we have already earned the trust and confidence of most community members. This is not something we take lightly, but by all means we wish to fulfill the trust and confidence that has been afforded to us. We will continue to work hard, to engage the community and its leadership, as we make the dream of affordable sustainable housing to everyone a reality.
One of the goals of Ubuntu Design Group is to help in the rise of self sustaining communities through the use of opportunities like agriculture, however it was pointed to us that the real problem is not the productivity from the community, but in actual fact the real problem was in the fact that there was no outlet, or market from which the community could profit from the productivity. This means that before we can even establish good agricultural systems, we should also plan ahead for the market which will be reached out to.
Finally, the leadership expressed how they were really happy about the work we were doing. One of the major things they commended was the consultations we were making with them in every decision we had to make, which is really important because nothing can be done in the community without their consent. The point their were driving at was the importance of being on the same page with each other all the time, to work in unison towards the holistic development of the whole community.
Once again we’d like to thank the leadership of Umbumbulu for the continued support; for even allowing us to carry out this project in their town. They have since been very supportive, involved and just as eager as we are to see the success of this project being carried out. We look forward to the continued steadiness of this solid partnership.