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UKZN Press

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Voices of Resilience provides a rich history of Durban’s Kenneth Gardens through the oral stories of its residents

Kenneth Gardens is Durban’s largest low-income municipal housing estate.

Initially built for ‘poor whites’, Kenneth Gardens today is arguably one of the most socially diverse living spaces in the city. While the estate is significant in terms of its size, history and social make-up, very little has been written about it. This book provides a history of Kenneth Gardens through the oral history stories of its residents.

It is a rich tapestry of narratives as told by people who resided in Kenneth Gardens during apartheid, those that moved into the estate when the Group Areas Act began to be defunct, as well as stories from residents who have more recently moved into the estate.

Although this book is about Kenneth Gardens itself, it is also about the history of social housing, identity formation and change, urban planning, and state regulation. Many of the story tellers reveal intimate moments of struggle in their lives. But what emerges more strongly than vulnerability and hardship is embedded resilience and adaptability.

Through the narratives we come to understand how a subsidised rental apartment becomes home, and how relative strangers can form a neighbourhood based on shared circumstances, proximity and an urban planning design that fosters familiarity and belonging. The narratives are accompanied by a unique photo essay created by acclaimed photographer Cedric Nunn.

The authors invite readers to dwell in the everyday lives and memories of the people of Kenneth Gardens, and in so doing unravel the complexities of social housing, local government, regulation, urban identity politics and human agency.

Monique Marks is head of the newly established Urban Futures Centre at the Durban University of Technology. She has published widely in the areas of youth social movements, ethnographic research methods, police labour relations, police organisational change and street-level drug use.

Kira Erwin is a sociologist and senior researcher at the Urban Futures Centre at the Durban University of Technology. She is currently leading a number of research projects that address issues of migration and inclusion, high school children’s ideas of race and the future in Durban, and how recipients of state delivered housing construct narratives of home and belonging.

Tamlynn Fleetwood is an independent research and evaluation specialist across a wide range of areas in the social sciences, namely education, urban and environmental issues, housing, and the informal economy.

Book details

  • Voices of Resilience: A Living History of the Kenneth Gardens Municipal Housing Estate in Durban by Monique Marks, Kira Erwin, Tamlynn Fleetwood
    EAN: 9781869143985
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