bC: bridgingMzamba

Project management and Implementation: bridgingMZAMBA,
2013- 2015, 31° 5’46.62″S /  30° 9’29.97″E

The community driven project ´bridgingMzamba` originated in the urgent need of and request by surrounding inhabitants for a safe crossing of the Mzamba River and included design and implementation of a 140 Meter long suspension bridge in a collaborative manner.

The Austria based NPO buildCollective teamed up with two thesis students of the Carinthia University of Applied Science under the guidance of Prof.Dr. Peter Nigst for the design and planning phase.

A Steering Committee representing the local community and client guided the process and carried on negotiations with necessary entities. The driving force of tribal authority, ward committee and local stakeholders ensured a successful public participation and sustainable development.

Further support and authorisation could be established in liaison with engineers from South Africa and Switzerland (Dr. Lüchinger+Meyer), environmental experts, the Mbizana Municipality and Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development Environmental Affairs and Tourism to ensure technical accuracy and compliance.

Design and technology had been guided by the reduction of environmental impact, available resources, the implementation with layperson and the hardly accessible construction site.

Through this collective approach with users, students and experts the production of knowledge, cultural exchange, skills development and responsibility is achieved for all participants.

Overall project costs of 200 000 Euros have been carried solely by sponsors, donations and personal contribution. In several phases of negotiations, fundraising, design and construction since 2012, this extraordinary infrastructure could be realized with October 2015 as a self-build project of community members and volunteers.

The Mzamba Bridge is now connecting residents of a catchment area of 30km to necessary infrastructure such as educational facilities, health care, jobs and general food supply. Further it serves as a landmark and potential tourist attraction in the area to enable socio-economic development.

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