NWU master’s student wins award

Belinda Bantham -- Wed, 09/13/2017 - 15:08

NWU master’s student wins award

A master’s degree student at the North-West University (NWU) recently won an award at the Anthropology Southern Africa conference in Malawi.

Hestia Victor won the Elaine Salo Award for presenting the paper, “There is life in this place: DIY formalisation, water infrastructure and buoyant life in the Marikana informal settlement near Potchefstroom”. This paper was based on her honours research project.

Hestia said the Marikana informal settlement in Potchefstroom is a dusty squatter camp where residents are abandoned by the state and denied of basic service delivery. Most of the residents are unemployed and unable to meaningfully participate to the market economy.

“Marikana is a place that might remind one of death, yet residents experience ‘life in this place’,” says Hestia. “This paper tells the story of how residents in Marikana established a DIY-formalisation and got water infrastructure up and running. They navigate themselves through the troubled waters of ‘late liberalism’ in order to experience and maintain ‘life in this place’.”

She says the life that residents experience is neither ‘romantically’ resilient nor ignorant of adversity.

“I call this buoyant life.”

Hestia is currently busy with her master’s study in social anthropology and is writing a proposal that builds on her ethnographic research in Marikana. She is planning to do research on urban anthropology (infrastructure) and medical anthropology (motherhood