The sand miners of Sierra Leone: working and waiting

“It is difficult as a young man here in Sierra Leone,” says 16-year-old sand miner Adraman Kamara, standing on the banks of the Sierra Leone River in a small village 20 kilometres east of Freetown. “We are told to work for our money and help our families. We are told by the government that we … Continued

New master plan for Nairobi

The failure to realise much of Nairobi’s 1973 Nairobi Metropolitan Growth Strategy, combined with a need to plan a livable city for the estimated 5.2 million people that will live in Nairobi by 2030, has led to the development of the Nairobi Integrated Urban Development Master Plan (NIUPLAN).

In Accra, a need to re-claim open spaces and re-gain community?

Traditionally, recreation and social interaction were a matter of course for African societies, finding expression in the built form from the compounds in multi-family dwellings to community durbar grounds. The very form of the built environment ensured the requisite interaction. However with urbanisation and a misconceived notion of modernity, the experience of social interaction is changing in form, substance and scale.

Can I have fifty cents please?

Negotiating imagination through the material manifestations of homelessness, Shaun’s story tells of a life constrained to and yet very detached from Main Road

The man next to the governor: how a police state ruined a city

In June of 2013 a group of heritage activists, architects, and concerned citizens organized a protest outside the Cairo governorate regarding the speedy deterioration of historic Cairo. The historic city had been suffering for years but since 2011 the process of deterioration had increased to an unprecedented pace with new constructions rising in the small plots between registered buildings and with architectural details disappearing from buildings daily.

Minting it: Trading on Joburg’s Mint Street

One of the defining, and most enthralling, features of Mint street is that it is open for business, in some form or another, for the greater portion of any 24-hour day.

Kampala stakes its place on East African art map

African art lovers are preparing for the Kampala Art Biennale, which will be held throughout August in venues around Kampala. The Biennale is presented as an innovative project with the intention of showing contemporary works from around the continent and creating debate on its current value. According to the organizers, the first edition will give … Continued

Planning for open streets in Cape Town

The busy hum of collaboration filled the Department of Design in Cape Town Wednesday night. The team at Open Streets Cape Town brought together citizens who share the belief that ‘Cape Town’s streets could be so much more’ for a workshop about the upcoming Open Streets events for 2014. Based on the concept of Bogota’s … Continued

Moments of connection at Cape Town’s World Music Fest

“No one said that freedom would be so hard, rainbow child.” These words from the lead vocalist of South African band The Brother Moves On sent ripples through the crowd at the Cape Town World Music Festival on Friday night. When I had entered Cape Town City Hall, almost seven hours earlier, the grandeur of … Continued

Young men struggling for work in Freetown

When I met Ibrahini Sorio Jalloh in Freetown, Sierra Leone, he was unpacking second-hand clothing from a huge hessian bag and setting up his stall in Kabiya Lots Market, a five-minute walk from the iconic Cotton Tree in the city center. “I live with fifteen people in my house. That’s why I sell ‘junks’,” says … Continued