South Africa: Students Design Portable 'Township Crèche' in University First for South Africa

Under the guidance of their lecturer, architecture students at the Nelson Mandela University built a unique, portable crèche for children in the Walmer township in Port Elizabeth.

For the past 15 years, Glenda Brunette, known in Walmer township as Mamtshawe, has been looking after crèches and soup kitchens. The motto of her NGO is: 'Every child counts'. But Crèche 13, as it is known, was always a heavy burden on her heart. More than 30 children were squeezed into the corrugated iron, windowless shack housing the crèche, with babies wrapped up in blankets having to sleep on the ground. Then a university lecturer who had a project in mind for his second-year architectural students came to their rescue.

The original Creche 13 on the first day: students visited to plan its conversion. (Photo: Nelson Mandela University)

To build a crèche in Airport Valley, part of Port Elizabeth's Walmer township, was always going to be a tall order. The municipality requires that all structures be portable should the area, currently an informal settlement, be developed. There was no money - so it had to be cheap. And the existing stand was small without reticulated water.

The shack that had been built...

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