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Episode 30: Limpopo Diaries, Part One

James Benedict Brown

For almost ten years, the University of Nottingham Department of Architecture and Built Environment has been building small educational buildings in South Africa. This year, they invited me to participate in the 2017/18 edition of the project, building a small crêche in a rural village near Tzaneen in Limpopo Province for the Thušanang Trust. The Trust is a non-profit founded in 1986 to train teachers and establish community-based Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres.

This is the first in a series of podcasts to be recorded during the project. This year's crêche was designed by a group of three second-year students in the second year of Nottingham's ARB/RIBA Part 1 Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) programme. It will be built by approximately thirty students in two consecutive two-week phases over the four weeks of the 2018 Easter vacation. I'm in South Africa for phase two.

In this episode, recorded in Nottingham the week before the phase one students departed for Tzaneen, I spoke to some of the project's stakeholders. Although he cannot travel to South Africa this year, John Ramsay has been involved in the projects from their inception and provides an overview of the programme to date. Structural engineers Lois Plaistow and Steve Wickham of Price & Myers have both participated in previous projects, helping students to make their designs buildable. They'll also be on site during phase 1 to help with the construction of the building. Finally, I get to speak with some of the students themselves. 

For more from the build, check out the #ProjectIthuta hashtag on Twitter. Parts two and three of my Limpopo Diaries will appear over the next three weeks.

These podcasts have been made possible by the University of Nottingham Department of Architecture and Built Environment, which has paid for my travel, accommodation and sustenance while in South Africa. Neither the University nor the Thušanang Trust has approved nor endorsed the views and opinions expressed in these podcasts.