n Image & Text : a Journal for Design - The viability of social design as an agent for positive change in a South African context : mural painting in Enkanini, Western Cape

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1020-1491



The aim of this article is to highlight some of the issues that handicap the success and viability of community-based design projects that aim to negotiate positive social change in South Africa through social and inclusive design processes. Using a case study methodology, we focus on a community mural project recently executed in Enkanini, a township outside Stellenbosch in the Western Cape. The project, implemented by Andrew Breitenberg, an American artist currently living in South Africa, together with a group of Dutch volunteers, was called . By investigating how the project negotiates, or fails to negotiate, sustainable social change in practice, we construe possible reasons for the project's outcomes with the aim of improving the viability of social design practice as a change agent in social design projects throughout South Africa. In this case study, aspects of South African social design practice are discussed, without skirting around issues that may be hard for designers to deal with when confronted with the reality of social politics in South Africa. We argue that there is a need for a critical consideration of the unquestioned optimism and often romanticised prospects that are linked to such projects.

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