reports & publications

resources narratives of home and neighbourhood


Narratives of Home: Quarry Road West

Using a participatory action research approach, with photovoice as a key method, residents explore their own narratives and feelings with regards to living in Quarry Road West informal settlement in Clare Estate (Palmiet), and what this means for the construction of place, identity and community.

Narratives of Home: Thokoza Women’s Hostel

Using qualitative methods, including photography, this research report explores the social consequences of living in Thokoza hostel, one of the few remaining single sex hostels in the eThekwini Municipality. The research examines the tensions, and changes over time, between the hostel as a temporary place to stay, and as a permanent ‘home’ for some residents.

Narratives of Home: Blackburn Village

Using a theoretical lens of the “arrival city” and the concept of place identity, this research explores the lived experiences of residents in Blackburn Village, an informal settlement in the north of Durban. The report examines the meanings of relocation to more formal housing for some households, as well as the in-situ upgrades that have started in the settlement.

Narratives of Home: SOHCO Port View and Valley View

This report explores the experiences of people living in two social housing complexes in Durban (Port View and Valley View), run by a social housing institution (Sohco Property Investments). The findings reflect on the role of complex design, and of location, in shaping identities and experiences of home and belonging in these social housing units.

Narratives of Home: Flamingo Court

This report uses interview, photographic and documentary data to explore the narratives of home and neighbourhood in Flamingo Court in Umbilo. Flamingo Court’s transition from municipal rental stock to private property shows how commonly held assumptions that home ownership provides stability, wealth and security should be revisited.

Narratives of Home: Langeler Towers (TAFTA)

This study explores questions of home, neighbourhood and belonging through participatory, qualitative research conducted with elderly residents of Langeler Towers (central Durban), a state-subsidised aged housing building owned by The Association for the Aged (TAFTA).


Performances of Home: xhuma connect

In 2019 the Cornubia research team created a public performance in the Cornubia housing estate in collaboration with the Masters of Bang, a dance group made up of young residents living in the housing development. The performance explored the meaning of home and belonging in Cornubia through the experiences of these young residents.

Flamingo in the Sky

This short documentary traces the lives of residents in a former municipal rental block, Flamingo Court in Durban. The documentary explores residents’ reflections on the changes that have occurred in the building since it was privatised in the early 1990s, as well as the evictions some residents faced after Flamingo Court was placed under administration due to a debit backlog of levies and rates.


Narratives of Home: Cornubia

This practice-based project explored the concepts of house/home/human (un)settlement in Cornubia, a large housing development in north Durban. The project culminated in an on-site participative performance by local dance group Masters of Bang (MOB), which aimed to stimulate debate about living in this housing development.

Reflections On and About Home

Russel Hlongwane: This text is primarily a reflection piece on the home, emerging from my earliest memories of home and arriving at current definitions whilst also reflecting on meanders in between. Such ruminations are seemingly shared by my peer group and I offer my own experience of how the notion of home is being configured and articulated by a specific young black segment of society.