SLF Winter Newsletter - June 2020
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Dear SLF supporters and followers,

Welcome to our winter newsletter. 

Welcome to our winter newsletter for 2020! And what a wild year it is has been. We trust that you are all staying safe and well in these difficult times. Like everyone else, SLF has had to rapidly adjust to new operational styles, activities and protocols in adapting to the COVID-19 “new normal”. We have drastically changed our field work programmes to incorporate social distancing and personal safety measures, engaged new work-from-home measures to accommodate the lockdown, and now have strict office protocols to manage the impact of the pandemic. However, what we are seeing in the communities where we work deeply concerns us. Our ongoing GCRF engagements have revealed the incredible stresses and challenges faced by ordinary people which are reflected in their personal health and wellbeing but also financially. Many have been laid off, others have had their businesses forcibly shut down, and all are taking strain – similar to most - but in the majority of cases without any form of safety net to fall back upon. Recent media reports note that when the COVID patients come out of intensive care, we should all be prepared for the economy to go in. Unfortunately, what we are seeing on the ground is exactly that, and quite clearly hard times are ahead. SLF has been fortunate to maintain its operations and we are more determined than ever to continue our work towards enhancing the wellbeing of the communities we serve. In this newsletter you will read about our ongoing work funded through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the University of Stirling, our engagement with the Cities Support Programme, new prospects and proposals.

The SLF is happy to introduce Zani Lamb, who joined our team as the new Business Manager in May. Zani is a non-profit management specialist with close to twenty years of experience in the development sector. Her field of expertise includes political development, peacebuilding, public health and child protection in South Africa and the Horn of Africa, primarily at community level. She holds an MPhil in Programme Evaluation (UCT), BA Honours in Political Sciences (UP) and is currently completing a BCom Honours in Human Resources Management with a focus on human resources practices in the non-profit sector.

If you are interested to give financially or in other ways to support those who have found themselves in dire need, we have chosen two worthy causes that do important charitable activities for the communities in which we work. In Vrygrond we recommend the Where Rainbows Meet Training and Development Foundation ( – contact their director Mymoena Scholtz on 073 261 8864, or In Delft we encourage you to consider giving to WIN (Women Impacting a Nation) who are conducting a food drive to support needy families – contact Farida Ryklief on 079 049 6767, or Both of these agencies work at the coal face of this economic downturn providing essential services and food to those needing it most and are worthy of your support.

Stay safe and enjoy our newsletter!
Leif Petersen (Board Chairman)

Public Engagement in Health
Thinking ahead, and hoping to build on current and past research and learning, we are excited to be working on multiple proposals and strengthening established partnerships with colleagues in Africa, Europe, South East Asia and North America. We are also developing new research and engagement concepts aiming to address some of the most crucial development needs that have been heightened due to COVID-19. One of those needs is the improvement and amplification of COVID community and public engagement. This point has been emphasized by our co-director Dr. Gill Black in an article recently published by South Africa's Daily Maverick newspaper. In her article, Gill argues for more dedicated and widespread efforts to engage residents of marginalized and hard to reach communities in COVID-19. She proposes that this could be done through an interactive and data free app offering socially and culturally perceptive information, accessible in all South African languages. Click here to read the full article.
Dr. Black has also recently co-authored a handbook and online course offering guidance on different approaches to community engagement in public health and health science research. Gill developed these resources with Mary Chambers, head of public engagement at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam. The open access course and downloadable handbook have been published by the Global Health Network. To read more on the online course, click here.

The handbook can be found here.

The Practice and Ethics of Participatory Visual Methods for Community Engagement in Public Health and Health Scienc Course

UKRI GCRF Water and Fire
SLF is currently working with the University of Stirling, in conjunction with Universities of Cape Town and the Western Cape on a United Kingdom Research and Innovation / Global Challenges Research Fund (UKRI/GCRF) supported project to investigate climate change resilience in three Cape Town townships. We are considering impacts of drought, localized flooding and fires through interviews with respective residents of Delft, Sweet Home Farm and Overcome Heights. This is a three-year programme and the findings are rolling in through a range of investigations including telephonic interviews and workshop processes (all adapted in response to social distancing measures for COVID-19). We are very much looking forward to reconnecting with our various partner colleagues and welcoming on board three Post-Doctoral Scholars to support this important work. Aside from our own webpage, please check out for more updates.

Township Economy: The Book!
SLF Board members Andrew Charman, Leif Petersen and Thireshen Govender are proud to release their book “Township Economy” that unpacks the last decade of our investigations and activities throughout South Africa and Namibia! Reviewer Prof Ben Cousins described it as a “tour de force” which we consider high praise indeed! The official launch is on 4th August via an interactive online platform and we would welcome you to join us. Please RSVP to Check out a brief synopsis here.



Township Economy: The Book!


Can the Building and Hardware sector sustain its rise for the next 5 years?
In the last quarter, SLF concluded the Delft Third Wave Resurvey. The study has revealed very interesting insights about township economy. Traditionally, dominant businesses such as the hair care, food sector and liquor businesses in the township economy usually show the greatest resilience even under strenuous economic challenges in the country. The liquor sector particularly seemed to have taken a huge knock in the recently concluded resurvey. It is common knowledge that the liquor sector is more affected by compliance issues than operational issues. A few more new sectors in the informal township economy seem to be growing very well in Delft. Notable among these is the rental business. There is no doubt that this sector has become a big player now. Although residential renting has grown in Delft, the most interesting is office and commercial renting mainly in Delft Main Road. Delft Main Road is fast becoming a good example of how properties in the main road have responded to the demand for office and commercial space in the township. Medical practitioners, lawyers, and furniture shops are taking up space in the main road and individual property owners are making good use of their double-storey extensions.
One of the fastest growing businesses related to the growing demand for living and business space in Delft is the building and hardware sector. Although this is concentrated only in the Main Road, this sector has a very strong dominance at the moment in terms of the value of what is sold as well as the potential to grow into real serious businesses able to challenge established businesses in the same sector. The building and hardware business has been recorded in previous surveys but previously was in relation to building accessories and the selling of second hand building materials. If one looks at how this sector has grown and how new players have come on to the platform, it clearly shows how big this sector can grow in a few years. The growing demand for accommodation and the corresponding growth in double-storey houses in Delft is obviously the reason the building and hardware sector has taken such a huge leap. It would be interesting to see how well this business would be able to sustain itself in the next five years.



Rental Accomodation in Delft


Podcast: A Background of Contemporary Delft

Anthony Muteti, Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation’s Project Officer, has created a podcast series. In this series, he shares his experiences about what happens in the field while doing research. This podcast series will cover topics such as the pressures field researchers face, the skills required to do field research well, specific experiences of the Delft Third Wave Resurvey and crime and gangsterism in Delft.
Click here to listen to the podcast.

Podcast: A Background of Contemporary Delft by Anthony Muteti

Township Economy in 2020 Series

We have launched a blog series, Township Economy in 2020. The series showcases original research conducted by the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation and our partners on a range of topics relating to township economies. So far, there are three posts in the series.

Series #1 provides a decade long perspective on enterprises in Delft South, Cape Town. This post reports on the findings of the 3rd wave of surveys conducted in 2020. There were some surprising results. We were particularly concerned with the evidence on the decline of survivalist businesses. Read more here.
For Series #2, we collaborated with Ivan Turok and Andreas Scheba from the Human Sciences Research Council, to report on rental accommodation in Delft South and Eindhoven, Cape Town. In addition to providing evidence on the scope and scale of this aspect of the township economy, including evidence on the rental costs of different units, the paper highlights the need to reconsider the policy framework for regulating the backyard accommodation sector. You can read more about it here.
Series #3 is on the topic of Food Hampers. Madeleine Coste explores the potential of food hampers in advancing sustainable diets in South Africa. She conducted field research in Cape Town with the SLF in June 2018. She found that bulk shopping ‘hampers’ at month-end is an important strategy adopted by low-income households. These hampers are often made up of high calorie, nutrient poor foods, but are mediated through the lenses of price and brand preference. You can read more about it here.

Series #4 is an interview with SLF's Project Officer, Anthony Muteti where he shares his experiences about what happens in the field while doing research. This series will cover topics such as the pressures field researchers face, the skills required to do field research well, specific experiences of the Delft Third Wave Resurvey and crime and gangsterism in Delft. You can read more about it here.

We will be releasing more posts in the near future, so keep an eye out for future series in the series!

Township Economy in 2020 Series 
Cities Support Programme – Township Economy Development Project
SLF was appointed as the implementing partner to the Cities Support Programme’s Township Economy Development Project. This 3-year project provides technical support to five metros to develop and implement a township economy development project in a pilot site. SLF will support the metros to undertake a transversal planning process to identify community needs, formulate suitable projects, mobilize financial and technical resources and monitor project impacts. The SLF team includes partnerships with specialists from UrbanWorks, the HSRC, Mariswe and Pegasys and independent contractors.
In the first phase of the TED project, our team is undertaking a situational analysis of opportunities for township economic development. As part of this process of learning process, SLF has launched a series of virtual imbizos on Facebook. Through these imbizos we are engaging with entrepreneurs and community members in the five pilot sites. Please join our imbizos (links below) and connect with local township entrepreneurs.
Pinetown Virtual Imbizo
Hammanskraal Virtual Imbizo
Tembisa Virtual Imbizo
New Brighton Virtual Imbizo

Once again, thank you for your continuing support and interest in the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation. Keep an eye on our social media platforms for more exciting updates.

Township Economy in 2020 Series #1


 Township Economy in 2020 Series #3

COVID-19 Community Engagement in South Africa: The Time is Now

State of The Nation

Township Economy in 2020 Series #2

Podcast: A Background of Contemporary Delft
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