Research into realities faced by Durban’s Cato Manor residents during general elections in South Africa in 2019 earned Ms Hleliwe Khumalo a Master’s degree in Development Studies.
The study drew on data from a UKZN Centre for Civil Society (CCS) research project completed in cooperation with the Centre for Social Change at the University of Johannesburg during the elections.
‘Mainstream media report on protests and land invasions where residents in informal settlements are often shown in a bad light,’ said Khumalo. ‘My study reveals how violence sometimes occurs because the formal structures of participation do not produce satisfactory outcomes.’
She believes the results of her research will inform society about how public participation ‘plays out’, especially for the marginalised residents of Cato Manor, which might be common to other informal settlements.
Khumalo – the holder of a UKZN Talent Excellence and Equity Acceleration Scholarship which helped finance her studies – thanked her family, friends and supervisor for their support and guidance.
She advised other students to ‘get your priorities right, know what it is that you want, aim for it and do your best to ensure you achieve it!’
Khumalo hopes to read for a PhD, publish more research and lecture.