Hlengiwe Ndlovu is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand. She is a doctoral fellow at Transforming Humanities Through Humanities Through Interdisciplinary Knowledge (THINK), and a doctoral associate at Society, Work and Politics Institute (SWOP). She is a 2018 Margaret McNamara Memorial Trust – African Programme fellow and a Canon Collins Educational and Legal Assistance Trust scholar. Ndlovu is the co-editor of the book Rioting and Writing: Diaries of the Wits Fallists (2017).
Duncan Village Township is one of the six beneficiaries of former President Nelson Mandela's Urban Renewal Project that received massive funding for development purposes, yet remains one of the poorest townships in the country. Development prospects have been marred with corruption scandals, leaving the township lacking most basic needs. This study explores the relationship between the state and citizens from the 1980s to present day South Africa. It maps continuities and discontinuities of the state practices to understand how issues of (lack of) development, (in)security, and social order (peace) are contested, negotiated, and how they reproduce some of the structural conditions of colonial histories and apartheid state injustices. Most studies exploring development challenges in South Africa have focused on episodic moments of protests and spectacular events such as colonialism and apartheid. In this project, I argue that the focus on spectacular and episodic moments underplays complexities of everyday negotiations of this relationship, and therefore assumes that this relationship only matters when it has broken down and citizens are taking to the streets. This ethnographic study draws evidence from a triangulation of interviews, life histories, participant observation, and archival sources to enhance internal validity and reliability.