The aim of this pilot-survey is to map and record the daily movement and activity of a selected group of street children, over a seven day period, in the City of Port Elizabeth (South Africa). Little is known about these children, however, it is a logical starting point to define as clearly as possible how, where, and why they live, for two reasons:
a) it will promote a better informed discussion and
actions to help them by local aid agencies and
The survey displays its results on a map. This is not a new technique, yet it is phenomenally effective. In 1889 Charles Booth a socially minded capitalist created a London poverty map, which showed the social condition of every street. His map grabbed the attention of politicians of all parties so that much better attention was then focused on actions to reduce poverty, for the reasons mentioned above.
The group mostly stays intact for much of the day and its entire spatial activity pattern hardly ever exceeds a spatial extent of more than 1km2. This limited space in other words mostly represents the group’s ‘world’. Sometimes however its members tend to spread out over a small area (when they ‘work’ for example) and from time-to-time some individuals may even leave the group and venture beyond its usual spatial activity pattern. When it was for such reasons not possible to follow and observe the group as a whole, one particular group member named Sabta, was randomly chosen for this purpose and consistently followed. In summary, the activities of these children represent a colossal ‘feat of survival’ with corresponding qualities of ingenuity and entrepreneurship. For these same qualities they are sometimes perceived as a nuisance.
Grateful thanks to Adrian Gardiner and to the Mantis Collection hotel group, part of Dubai World Africa, for supporting this project.
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