Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 3

Johannesburg Related Abstracts

3 Sacred Spaces, Scarred Bodies: Understanding Forms of and Meanings Associated with Female Circumcision amongst Somali Women in Johannesburg

Authors: Z. Jinnah

Abstract:

International migration is associated with a disruption of social environments and social control. At the same time, the reproduction of cultural and social norms in the Diaspora provides a space for the (re)negotiation of gender roles, rights, and practices. This paper explores the relationship between mobility and the practice of female circumcision amongst Somalis in Johannesburg. Based on 4 years of ethnographic fieldwork, this paper explores the social determinants of cultural norms and practices, the linkages between class and tradition, and argues that the new social environment in South Africa conditions the ways in which Somali women relate to their bodies, and therefore understand the meanings associated with and practices of female circumcision.

Keywords: Migration, Gender, Female Circumcision, Somali women, Johannesburg

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2 City on Fire: An Ethnography of Play and Politics in Johannesburg Nightclubs

Authors: Beth Vale

Abstract:

Academic research has often neglected the city after dark. Surprisingly little consideration has been given to the every night life of cities: the spatial tactics and creative insurgencies of urban residents when night falls. The focus on ‘pleasure’ in the nocturnal city has often negated the subtle politics of night-time play, embedded in expressions of identity, attachment and resistance. This paper investigates Johannesburg nightclubs as sites of quotidian political labour, through which young people contest social space and their place in it, thereby contributing to the city’s effective and socio-political cartography. The tactical remodelling of the nocturnal city through nightclubbing traces lines of desire (material, emotional, sexual), affiliation, and fear. These in turn map onto young people’s expressions of their social and political identities, as well as their attempts at place-making in a ‘post-apartheid’ context. By examining the micro-politics of the cities' nightclubs, this paper speaks back to an earlier post-94 literature, which regularly characterised Johannesburg youth as superficial, individualist and idealistic. Similarly, some might position nightclubs as sites of frivolous consumption or liberatory permissiveness. Yet because nightclub spaces are racialised, classed and gendered, historically-signified and socially regulated, they are also profoundly political. Through ordinary encounters on the cities' dancefloors, young Jo’burgers are imagining, contesting and negotiating their socio-political identities and indeed their claims to the city. Meanwhile, the politics of this generation of youth, who are increasingly critical of the utopian post-apartheid city, are being increasingly inserted and coopted into night-time cultures. Data for this study was gathered through five months of ethnographic fieldwork in Johannesburg nightclubs, including over 120 hours of participant observation and in-depth interviews with organisers and partygoers. Interviewees recognised that parties, rather than being simple frivolity, are a cacophony of celebration, mourning, worship, rage, rebellion and attachment. Countering standard associations between partying and escapism, party planners, venue owners and nightclub audiences were infusing night-time infrastructures with the aesthetics of politics and protest. Not unlike parties, local political assemblies so often rely on music, dance, the occupation of space, and a heaving crowd. References to social movements, militancy and anti-establishment emerged in nightclub themes, dress codes and décor. Metaphors of fire crossed over between party and protest, both of which could be described as having ‘been lit’ or having ‘brought flames’. More so, young people’s articulations of the city’s night-time geography, and their place in it, reflected articulations of race, class and ideological affiliation. The location, entrance fees and stylistic choices of one’s chosen club destination demarcated who was welcome, while also signalling membership to a particular politics (whether progressive or materialistic, inclusive or elitist, mainstream or counter-culture). Because of their ability to divide and unite, aggravate and titillate, mask and reveal, club cultures might offer a mirror to the complex socialities of a generation of Jo’burg youth, as they inhabit, and bring into being, a contemporary South African city.

Keywords: Politics, Affect, Johannesburg, nightclub, nocturnal city

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1 Professional Stakeholders Perspectives on Community Participation in Transit-Oriented Development Projects: A Johannesburg Case Study

Authors: Kofi Quartey, Kola Ijasan

Abstract:

Achieving densification around transit-oriented development projects has proven the most ideal way of facilitating urban sprawl whilst increasing the mobility of the majority of the urban populations, making parts of the city that were inaccessible, accessible. Johannesburg has undertaken TOD vision, which was initially called the corridors of freedom. The TOD, in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 11, seeks to establish inclusive, sustainable cities and, in line with the Joburg Growth Development Strategy, aims to create an equitable world-class African city. Equity and inclusivity should occur from the onset of planning and implementation of TOD projects through meaningful community participation. Stakeholder engagement literature from various disciplinary backgrounds has documented dissatisfaction of communities regarding the lack of meaningful participation in government-led development initiatives. The views of other project stakeholders such as project policy planners and project implementors and their challenges in undertaking community participation are, however, not taken into account in such instances, leaving room for a biased perspective. Document analysis was undertaken to determine what is expected of the Project stakeholders according to policy and whether they carried out their duties) seven interviews were also conducted with city entities and community representatives to determine their experiences and challenges with community participation in the various TOD projects attributed to the CoF vision. The findings of the study indicated that stakeholder engagement processes were best described as an ‘educative process’; where local communities were limited to being informed from the onset rather than having an active involvement in the planning processes. Most community members felt they were being informed and educated as to what was going to happen in spite of having their views and opinions collected – primarily due to project deadlines and budget constraints, as was confirmed by professional stakeholders. Some community members exhibited reluctance to change due to feelings of having projects being imposed on them, and the implications of the projects on their properties and lifestyles. It is recommended that community participation should remain a participatory and engaging process that creates an exchange of knowledge and understanding in the form of a dialogue between communities and project stakeholders until a consensus is reached.

Keywords: Johannesburg, stakeholder engagement, community participation, transit oriented development

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