No messing in Bonteheuwel 

The article, written by City of Cape Town official Wilmot Arendese and Zarina Patel, Mistra Urban Futures Cape Town Platform Director and African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, focuses on a community-development programme in Bonteheuwel, Cape Town.

Building a sustainable community 

In a period of just over a decade, Bonteheuwel has transitioned from a degraded natural, built and social environment to a place that the community are proud of. The development of social capital within the community, coupled with the development of partnerships and the building of trust with local government, have been identified as key ingredients in this transition. 

Vicious cycles to virtuous cycles

The community’s dissatisfaction with the environmental problems was a catalyst for the development in Bonteheuwel. The community, local government and community leaders therefore stated to work together, initially in a clean-up campaign. This, together with other initiatives, has resulted in trust and relationships that have endured over more than ten years. A vicious cycle was turned into a virtuous cycle.

Experience of policy development

This article has been written as part of the Knowledge Transfer Programme.  One of the objectives of the Knowledge Transfer Programme is to give legibility to policy processes by documenting examples from the City of Cape Town that can assist in the identification of alternate transition pathways to achieve sustainable development. City officials were selected on a competitive basis to work with writing partners at the University of Cape Town to document their experience of policy development and implementation at the city. This article is part of this process.

About Bonteheuwel 

Bonteheuwel situated 20 km on the outskirts of Cape Town, was built in the 1960s as a new township to alleviate housing shortages for the ‘Coloured communities’ after the forced removals from ‘White areas’. The township was initially largely formal, although high housing demands has led to so called backyard dwellings. Crime, poverty and environmental degradation are a result of Bonteheuwel rapid growth for decades.  

Read more 

Article published in Town and Regional Planning: ‘No Messing in Bonteheuwel’: The role of social capital and partnership building in sustainable community development 

Knowledge Transfer Programme 

Photos: Wilmot Arendse