Vernacular or not? Preliminary thoughts in developing a methodology to understand the imijondolo

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 11
  • Abstract:

    The informal dwelling could be considered a cultural universal in its global replication as immediate shelter prompted by modernism and modernisation. Simultaneously, one could argue that such buildings are of vernacular construction, most being assembled of found materials in a manner which satisfies the various definitions of vernacular architecture. Interrogating the interface between the informal dwelling and traditional or vernacular accommodation could assist in disentangling the position of the informal dwelling. Furthermore, this understanding could provide insight into appropriate methods of addressing the informal housing issue. This article presents preliminary thoughts in which the archetypal Zulu dwelling or iQhugwane is used as a control against informal dwellings or imijondolo constructed on urban peripheries in KwaZulu- Natal, South Africa. Using spatial anthropology and architectural analysis, comparative linkages between the traditional and the contemporary could aid in positioning the informal dwelling as an architectural vernacular, and suggest a prognosis as to its architectural and cultural sustainability.