Urbanafrica.net is an online platform dedicated to communicating about African cities. We share information about the urban experience in Africa, with contributions from journalists, academics, bloggers and those working in the urban sphere. A key objective of urbanafrica.net is the mainstreaming of progressive debates on African urbanism through the stimulation of a dynamic online community. The African Centre for Cities, based at the University of Cape Town, South Africa coordinates urbanafrica.net on behalf of the partnership with the African Urban Research Initiative and Mistra Urban Futures. The ACC was established in 2007 and thrives on being a new generation knowledge institution rooted at an African university. We insist that cities are intriguing, inspirational and tough places where societies find their identity in the world. The mission of the ACC is to contribute to imaginative policy discourses and practices that promote vibrant, just and sustainable cities. A small network of urban practitioners conceived urbanafrica.net. Their aim was to use technology to make current and well organized information and resources on urban development available to practitioners in African cities. The initiative has received generous seed funding from the Department of International Development – UK’s Urban LandMark, the Cities Alliance, the World Bank Institute and the Association of African Planning Schools. Urbanafrica.net has been generously supported by Mistra Urban Futures, an international centre for sustainable urban development. The purpose of the centre is to contribute towards making a real difference to the urban environment and to city lives. Practitioners and researchers cooperate closely to produce first-class, effective and relevant knowledge. Mistra Urban Futures has five regional platforms in Cape Town, Kisumu, Gothenburg, Manchester and Shanghai.
Benedict Gamedze is an economist and planner. He currently serves as the Professional Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer in the City Council of Mbabane (Swaziland). Previously, he was the Planning Officer to the Ministry of Works and Construction and the Assistant Planning Officer to the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development. Benedict has extensive experience in city management and project management. He has published work, titled Strategic Corporate Planning at Municipal Level for the SADC Regional Information Centre, where he is the country’s focal point.
Kubeshni Govender is a communications professional by training and has over the last few years worked in the area of knowledge management and innovation. In 2002 she started the Joburg Innovation & Knowledge Exchange (JIKE) as a response to the growing knowledge and learning needs of the city. As the Director and Senior Consultant of Black Earth Consulting (2006-date), Kubeshni has created, and assisted with the implementation of knowledge strategies, products and services for clients including The World Bank / The World Bank Institute, Ekurhuleni Municipality, The City of Johannesburg, and The South African Cities Network.
Francois Menguele has worked for GTZ and the European Union as a government advisor and team leader of projects and programmes in the areas of Urban Management, Urban Renewal, Human Settlements, Municipal Development, Local Governance and Decentralization. He has rendered moderation and strategic planning services to the African Ministerial Conference for Housing and Urban Development (AMCHUD), the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA), the German Development Bank (KfW), and the French Agency for Development Cooperation (AFD) among others. He collaborates frequently with academic institutions such as the School of Architecture and the Built Environment (Wits University) and planning faculties (University of Pretoria) as a guest lecturer.
Rasigan Maharaj is concurrently Nodal Head of the Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation’ Centre of Excellence in Scientometrics and Science, Technology and Innovation Policy; the founding Chief Director of the Institute for Economic Research on Innovation at Tshwane University of Technology; an Associate Research Fellow of the Tellus Institute in Boston; and the Chairperson of the Southern African Node of the Millennium Project. A seasoned academic and published writer, Rasigan has been involved in various positions with the National Advisory Council on Innovation, the NEPAD Science and Technology Programme, the Vision 2014 Key Performance Indicator Team, the South African Institute of Management of Technology and Innovation, and The National Research Foundation Act Drafting Team.
Kerwin Datu originally trained in architecture, in which he worked in Sydney, Paris and London over nine years. He completed an M.Sc in Urbanisation and Development at LSE, which inspired the creation of The Global Urbanist, an online magazine analysing urban development issues worldwide. He remains the publication’s editor in chief. He recently submitted a doctoral thesis in Economic Geography, again at LSE [Geography and Environment], focused on the role of the global network of cities in the economic development of peripheral cities and regions.
Mark Napier is a senior researcher in the Built Environment with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, South Africa. He is also the former programme director of the Urban Land Markets Programme Southern Africa (Urban LandMark), a UKaid programme formerly based in Pretoria. Mark is an architect by profession. He has spent time in government, setting up a research unit in the national Department of Human Settlements, and before that was with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. He has researched and published in the areas of housing extensions, home-based enterprises, environmental aspects of informal settlements, and land and housing markets.