Democracy, post the apartheid era promised a better life for native Black Africans in South Africa, better living conditions for all and especially those living in townships and rural areas. Fast forward into 2020, a lack of economic opportunities, under-developed areas, and continuing lack of infrastructure is still a sad reality for many people living in rural areas in South Africa. Rural parts of South Africa are thus generally poor and the majority of these areas are characterized by poor service delivery and lack of access to resources. Nevertheless, such places are rich with culture, tradition and a sense of community. The study area of this dissertation is in the rural parts of Limpopo, with special focus centred around the Moletjie tribal villages. Most of the rural areas in the Limpopo province are still under the leadership of traditional authorities and depend on livestock and subsistence farming.
The rural landscape fabric within the villages in the Moletjie area and other parts of South Africa share a similar trait of being dispersed and fragmented in nature. Due to the lack of infrastructure and resources, residents are forced to share these scarce resources. Sharing also means that residents walk long distances to places of importance on long, tedious and physically uncomfortable pathways.
Environmental issues such as erosion, overgrazing and deforestation are a concern within the study area. It is also worthwhile to mention that the author of this dissertation grew up in the study area.
This provides a unique opportunity to explore how intimate knowledge of space about a place can factor into the design of a place.
However, it should be emphasized that the dissertation does not aspire for an easy fix solution with regards to rural development issues; it rather subtly looks into how to improve rural conditions,
rurally. In other words, how can rural lives together with the rural environment be sustainably developed while preserving rural identity and heritage?
Mini Dissertation (ML (Prof))--University of Pretoria, 2020.