Rosettenville is changing. The suburb, 5 km south of Johannesburg’s CBD, on the other side of the gold mines, that struggles with issues of crime, safety, hijacked buildings and general survival, has been put on the map by the City’s new big spatial vision, the Corridors of Freedom: ‘well planned transport arteries, linked to mixed use development nodes with high density accommodation, supported by office buildings, retail developments and opportunities of education, leisure and recreation.’ Beautiful images have been drawn up to illustrate the ideas and intentions. However, those imageries look little like Rosettenville currently does, and one is left to wonder how these two realities of today and tomorrow will overlay, conflict, co-exist or merge: has anyone from the outside (who plans and decides) spoken to someone on the inside (who lives there and knows)?
After nearly two years of working in Rosettenville, we - architecture & planning students, their lecturers and community facilitators- are still trying to make sense of the area, in particular the issues and concerns of those residents that we fail to meet most of the time.
It seems depressed, dirty, and dangerous, with lots of drugs, invisible yet intense backyards, clubs, churches and liquor shops. Yet it has one of the most beautiful water bodies in the ‘city without river’, a racecourse, wonderful trees and a magnificent view onto the skyline of Joburg. And, most importantly, many amazing and different people, men, woman and children, each of them with their own stories and with their own dreams and hopes. We want to show that Rosettenville has a face made of many faces, with a future made of many wishes that deserve to be seen and deserve to be heart.
We will collect those wishes and share them, because sometimes, they become true…