ENKANINI CASE STUDY (Stellenbosch, South Africa)

Enkanini is an informal settlement, which was established in 2006. It is located approximately 4 km from the centre of Stellenbosch town. The settlement was created when the evicted backyard shack dwellers of the neighbouring Kayamandi township occupied the adjacent land. The imperative for sustainable, equitable urban planning requires a new understanding of informal settlements beyond their physical, geographical, and legal characteristics. Smit et al., (2017) argue that it requires a holistic understanding of the interconnectedness of these spaces with their broader urban environment, through a multi-scale integrated assessment of the societal and ecosystem metabolism (MUSIASEM) approach. The study is based on Suzanne Smit’s PhD, in which the Enkanini case study was carried out as part of the participatory integrated assessment of energy systems to promote energy access and efficiency (PARTICIPIA) project.

A view of Enkanini

The method

The MUSIASEM approach is an analytical tool for analysing the development of human society in relation to sustainability, whilst being multi-disciplinary. It is capable of integrating variables related to non-equivalent descriptive domains and equipped to incorporate data from distinct hierarchical levels. This type of study had not been conducted in an informal settlement or African context before, and necessitated the design of a detailed data collection tool that would capture the necessary data whilst being context specific. The questionnaire was developed by Suzanne Smit, as part of her PhD. With inputs from the research centre and community members, the tool was modified for the specific context and translated into English and isiXhosa (the language spoken by the majority of residents).

The questionnaire was designed to capture the following:

  • Demographic data – age and gender of individuals and household composition
  • Human activity – related to individuals’ time spent on paid and unpaid work; physiological overhead, leisure and social activities, education and time spent on travel.
  • Money flows – related to individual and household income and expenditure
  • Energy flows – related to the type of energy carriers used for different household activities (such as cooking, lighting, and heating), quantity of fuels used and associated costs.

The input from community members ensured that specific cultural references or practices were not overlooked. For example, the term ‘Stokvel’ (referring to a type of community-based saving scheme) was included as a possible source of income and savings instrument, while remittances (the practice of sending money to family in another region) were also captured. The fieldwork for this study was conducted in collaboration with the Enkanini research centre who appointed three experienced, community members as co-researchers to administer the questionnaires to 100 households within the settlement. This arrangement would increase access to the community whilst improving community participation and input. Co-researchers also contributed to a participatory mapping exercise to indicate land use and infrastructure in Enkanini. Highlights included the location of churches, shebeens (informal restaurant establishments), educational facilities, spaza shops (micro businesses), and municipal supplied water, waste and sanitation facilities.

Publication outputs

 The following publications emanate from the Enkanini case:

  1. Kovacic Z, Smit S, Musango JK, Brent Ac & Giampietro M. 2016. Probing uncertainty levels of electrification in informal urban settlements: a case from South Africa. Habitat international, 56: 212-221.
  2. Smit, S, Musango, JK, Kovacic, Z & Brent, Ac. 2017. Conceptualising slum in an urban African context. Cities, 62: 107 – 109.



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