Hout Bay Youth Build Solution for Water Crisis

Down in the Harbour the Workspace is a buzz in preparation for the Design Indaba Festival. Eight Hout Bay youth from Sistahood and Ikasi Youth have joined together to take part in the latest session of Workspace’s TEN Project. Together they are building a Fog Catcher which has been designed to collect dew and condensation from the air to assist in water collection in the growing water crisis. This educational and functional art piece will be on display at the Design Indaba Festival from the 1st of March.

The TEN Project was initiated to enable school leavers in South Africa from disadvantaged backgrounds to develop the physical and emotional skills to enter the workplace. The 28-day programme sponsored by the Hout Bay Partnership, teaches solid values and skills that offer them the chance at a better life, as well as to earn a living. The Workspace is a collaborative makerspace which provides infrastructure for existing artisans, artists and tradesmen the opportunity to use their skills, while also teaching practical skills and training new artisans. The facility offers resources for all people from all backgrounds, ages and abilities to use “making” as a tool for empowerment, economic opportunity and the building of social capital.

The opportunity for the TEN participants to build the Fog Catcher prototype demonstrates how sustainable design can link environmental awareness and community upliftment. Drawing on existing fog catcher designs such as those of the Warka Water project in Europe, Africa, South America and the Middle East, the cialisfrance24.com Catcher works by allowing condensation to collect on the fabric. The moisture in the fabric then drips into the collection tray and is channelled into and stored in a closed tank for future use.

The display will be both a functioning system of water catchment and a conceptual investigation into society’s relationship with vital resources, particularly water. The fabric of the Fog Catcher is embroidered in three colours, one of which shows the visualisation of a sound wave produced by dripping water. The second is a line graph depicting the changing water levels of the dams in the Western Cape, and the third is the number 59, referring to one of the estimates of the number of days of water remaining for public use in the City of Cape Town from the start of the Design Indaba Festival on 1 March 2017.

The design team’s longer-term intention is to roll out the Fog Catcher for functional use in rural, and potentially also in urban, water-scare areas. This method has been used extensively in rural and agricultural areas worldwide and was introduced to one of the project designers, Kathy Ackerman Robins through her development work at Goedgedacht Farm, a community-based farm in Riebeeck West, Western Cape.

Stephano Nkosi, one of the TEN project participants said “The experience has been great, the whole making of the Fog Catcher has united us and has been a lot of fun!”. Another participant, Mara Ngalwa expressed “It’s been a great honour to be a part of the project, we’ve interacted with new people and built up our networks. The TEN Project has given us a lot of hands on experience and is opening new opportunities for us”.

The TEN Project’s Fog Catcher will be on display from March 1st to 3rd at the Design Indaba Festival at Artscape and from there will be deployed along the West Coast.

All images by Jonx Pillemer.