Late in 2000, I asked Ponkies to accompany me through The Park to introduce me to people who had arrived since my last period of work there and to find old acquaintances after my long absence. I had last worked there in 1995, and much had changed since then. The shack settlement had tripled in size and quadrupled in population. It was crammed with small and large shacks, varying in formality: lean-to’s, large sturdy shacks, ‘wendy houses’, shacks with pitched roofs, picture windows and formal, fenced gardens. Ponkies and I decided to identify on a map the heads of household of each structure and that way to trace the people I had known.
This is an extract from Fiona Ross’ book, Raw Life, New Hope: Decency, Hope and Everyday Life in a Post-Apartheid Community was presented by Ross at an ACC Citylab seminar on the 7th October 2009