Coding camp Yaselalini

Nkqeto, Philisani
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The growing sentiment of contemporary social and economic discourse is the inevitability of the digital fourth industrial revolution. Some welcome it for the potential it brings for human evolution and progress, and some reject it for the dystopic forecast that it is projected to have on employability and equality. The common sentiment is, however, that the industrial revolution is inevitable. The research proposes two additional sentiments on the potential that this revolution might bring. The first of these is the dystopic impact that it might have on further alienating marginalized communities in participating in economic activities. The second is alternate to the first, and it engages on the immense potential that such a revolution could have in emancipating these marginalized communities. The research briefly engages on the disparities that will come about if marginalized rural communities are excluded from participating; arguing that that it is the same exclusion from previous economic niches that rendered them marginalized to begin with. The research is rather underpinned on the second sentiment, which is the potential that presents itself should marginalized rural communities of Lusikisiki and other rural communities be integrated in the revolution. This potential is both economic and social. These rural communities can be upskilled in digital skills that will allow them easier access to economic participation and they can use these skills to better the socio-economic challenges that they face. A critical and rudimental step, however, in saturating digital skills into these rural communities is the provision of the necessary infrastructure that they currently lack. The lack of the appropriate infrastructure and skills in these communities to gear themselves for the upcoming revolution is the basis through which the research makes the architectural argument of “Stagnant Typologies”. In the research, stagnant typologies are expanded upon as being the critical societal typologies that are commissioned for socio-economic emancipation, but have remained stagnant and obsolete in their functions and evolution. The research focuses on stagnant educational typologies of the rural Eastern Cape communities and their incapability to meet up with the performative benchmark of the digital skills era. The research therefore proposes a revision of these education-al typologies and a shift towards a newly evolving digital skills typology known as coding camps. These camps teach digital skills to any individual, regardless of age or qualification; and they are recorded to offer skills that are globally in shortage, but in high demand. In the context of rural Lusikisiki, these camps can aid in addressing socio-economic challenges of employability, unemployment, school dropouts and poverty. They can also aid in the current trend of digression away from practices of culture and identity that have ingrained these rural communities. The conclusion of the research is therefore a proposed coding camp facility in the town of Lusikisiki that will serve its sur-rounding communities and adjacent towns. The camp will be designed to suit its rural context and operate to serve the specific needs of its context. It will serve a very foreign concept in these communities; and potentially spark new architectural dis-courses about the potential that this emerging typology brings and its potential in marginalized communities.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of the Witwatersrand, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional), 2022