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Exploring the use of self-help housing as a tool for community identity construction: a case study of Abaqulusi Local Municipality.

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The relationship between housing, identity, social cohesion and community identity is becoming prominent in academic research. The main of this dissertation is to explore self-help housing to promote community identity in neighbourhoods where people use this method to build their own houses. In self-help housing, households plan and build their own houses depending on their sweat and equity contribution. The process is perceived to have a potential to create an environment where residents can identify with their local area due the personal elements that they have assigned on their houses and the neighbourhood. Secondary and primary data have been used to answer the main research question and meet the studies objective. A survey was used to gather primary data that will assist in contextualizing the study locally while secondary data will be used for international context of the study. Tajfel and Turner (1979) social identity theory and Turner (1976) self-help housing theory were used to guide the study’s investigation. The study found out that there is a link between self-help housing and community identity. The activities that are performed during self-help housing construction result in the community creating an environment that they assign their individual personal elements which are linked to their individual identity. The study make a contribution in the existing literature which explore the social dynamics of self-build housing in South Africa and hope to play a role in assisting role players who are interested in finding solutions for the current situation wherein community identity and unity are practically non-existent in most communities.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.