In my previous blog entry I mentioned the kind of approach I will be taking in my interviews; an approach which gives the interviewee the platform to fully speak their mind on a given issue. This is indeed what I have done in my first round of interviews, and I feel vindicated. I have covered themes in this first stage of interviews, which have the potential to make the radio series I am producing even more powerful.
|A run-down factory building in Sada, Whittlesea.|
I conducted my first round of interviews with two elders from Whittlesea. Messrs Soki Qodwana and Vela Mpendukana have both lived in the Whittlesea region for over 40 years. They are both recognised leaders of their communities, and have both been intent on improving the quality of life of people in their respective communities.
|Soki Qodwana, community leader in Sada, who is highly critical of how the Whittlesea region has deteriorated.|
Interestingly, they do not know each other. Whittlesea as a region covers a radius of about 40km. Under Ciskei rule, this whole region was a flourishing agricultural community. The town of Whittlesea and all the townships and villages in the region flourished in that era. But today, there are claims by citizens in this region that it has regressed in democratic South Africa. The Whittlesea region today, according to them, is a shadow of its former self. The stories told by Messrs Qodwana and Mpendukana have similar links, although their respective communities in the Whittelsea region lie about 30km away from each other.
In my interviews with them, I have made a number of breakthroughs, regarding how I plan to go forward with the fieldwork process. Mr Qodwana provided information of the politics of the region, which have halted some of the key projects in the region. He is also very vocal about the struggle of the region today. Mr Mpendukana spoke about how local government today unapproachable. Under Ciskei rule, government leaders were accessible and were intent on developing agricultural and rural communities in the region. This is not the case today, he says.
|Mr Vela Mpendukana, community leader in Kamastone, Whittlesea.|
|Another run-down factory in Whittlesea|
|Pipes which haven't been used in years at the former Shiloh Irrigation Scheme.|