Student housing and the slummification of the University of Zululand village in KwaDlangezwa, South Africa

Key words: , , , ,
Issue: Volume 12, Issue 1, 2018


When it comes to studying overseas, finding a place to stay can be, at times stressful. But it doesn’t have to be. Many international studies students find edinburgh apartments to rent the best fit. International affairs education finds itself in an uncertain time. On the one hand, it is easy to be pessimistic. It would be understandable if the extraordinary divisiveness of this present moment of American politics, and the scorn poured upon public servants and members of the so-called “blob” or “swamp” — including by the president of the United States — chilled young people’s interest in pursuing studies that might lead to a career in government or diplomacy. This effect is much worse for students coming from abroad, an increasingly large pool of potential candidates for American schools of international affairs and other including the Ascot International School in Thailand. Moving from your home country to study for a year or two in the United States involves sacrifice, and no doubt young people from Beijing to Bogota to Berlin must wonder how they will be welcomed in the United States in this current political environment.

All of this comes at a time when institutions of higher education of all kinds find themselves under increased public scrutiny, when everything from their cost model to their purported ideological predispositions to their purpose and role in society is being questioned. In Canada, those interested in burnaby condos for sale actually decide to offer rooms to college students, especially for international students. However in the United States, it is nearly impossible for a college student to be able to afford their studies, let alone to live in a condo. All this depends on the institution on condominium itself. Some might reasonably question the intellectual insight of international relations scholars, who for the most part failed to anticipate the end of the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union, the 9/11 attacks on the United States and their consequences, and the emergence and failure of the Arab Spring, to say nothing of the political forces that led to Brexit in the United Kingdom and the surprising outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. 

This paper examines the slummification of a university village in post-1994 South Africa. Universities are considered to be the main influence on the character of the host town and its spatial development. Although little work has been done in global southern rural contexts, researchers have studied the impact of students on host towns, and processes such as studentification. By examining the heterogeneous associations at play here it can be argued that relationships among actors are characterised by disconnections, and incongruent, often conflicting actions. In consequence, and ironically, these planning processes have transformed the village into a slum, a paradoxical response to the need for student housing. Drawing on qualitative methods, this paper examines the institutional actors and processes that led to the slummification of the village, drawing out the complex and conflicting roles of local and traditional authorities and the actions of the University.

Full text

Permalink (doi)

Authors Affiliations

Nothile P. Ndimande
University of Zululand, South Africa
* Correspondence address. Email:


Aliber, M. (2003), “Chronic Poverty in South Africa. Incidence, causes and policies”, World Development, vol. 31, no. 3, p. 473-490.
Allison, J. (2006), “Overeducated, over-exuberant and over-here? The impact of students on cities”, Planning, Practice and Reseach, vol. 21, no. 1, p. 79-94.
Barnes, T. (2006), “Changing discourses and meanings of redress in South African higher education, 1994-2001”, Journal of Asian and African Studies, vol. 41, no. 1½, p. 149-170.
Baxter, P. and Jack, S. (2008), “Qualitative Case Study Methodology: Study Design and Implementation for Novice Researchers”, The Qualitative Report, vol. 13, no. 4, p. 544-559.
Bowen, G.A. (2009), “Document Analysis as a Qualitative Research Method”, Qualitative Research Journal, vol. 9, no. 2, p. 27-40.
Bromley, R. (2006), “On and Off Campus: Colleges and Universities as Local stakeholders. Planning”, Practice and Research, vol. 21, no. 1, p.1-24.
Chigbu, U.E. (2013), “Rurality as a choice: Towards ruralising rural areas in sub-Saharan African countries”, Development Southern Africa, vol. 30, no. 6, p. 812-825.
City of uMhlathuze, (2012), Intergrated Development Plan, 13 January 2015, (
City of uMhlathuze, (2014), KwaDlangezwa Draft Precinct Plan.
Council on Higher Education Advice and Monitoring Directorate, (2010), University of Zululand CHE Profile.
Department of Higher Education and Training, (2011), Report on Ministerial Committee for the Review of the Provision of Student Housing at South African Universities.
Donaldson, R., Benn, J., Campbell, M. and de Jager A. (2014), “Reshaping urban spaces through studentification in two South African urban centres”, Urbani Izziv, no. 25, p. 176-188.
Frisvoll, F. (2012), “Power in the production of spaces transformed by rural tourism”, Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 28, no. 4, p. 447-457.
Guest, G., Namey, E. and Mitchell, M. (2013), Collecting Qualitative Data: A Field Manual for Applied Research, Los Angeles: Sage.
Gumprecht, B. (2003), “The American College Town”, The Geograhical Review, vol. 93, no. 1, p. 51-80.
Gumprecht, B. (2007), “The campus as a public space in the American college town”, Journal of Historical Geography, vol. 33, p. 72-203.
Halfacree, K. (2006), “Rural space: constructing a three-fold architecture” in P. Cloke, T. Mardesen, P. Mooney (eds), Handbook of Rural Studies, London: Sage, p. 44- 62.
Halfacree, K. (2007), “Trial by space for the ‘radical rural’: Introducing alternative localities, representations and lives”, Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 23, p. 125-141.
He, S. (2015), “Consuming urban living in ‘villages in the city’: Studentification in Guangzhou, China”, Urban Studies, vol. 52, no. 15, p. 2849-2873.
Hubbard, P. (2008), “Regulating the social impacts of studentification: a Loughborough case study”, Environment and Planning A, vol. 40, no. 2, p. 323-341.
Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB), (2011-2012), Annual Report, 17 August 2014, (
Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB), (2012-2013), Annual Report, 17 August 2014, (
Insch, A. and Sun, B. (2013), “University Students’ needs and satisfaction with their host city”, Journal of Place Management and Development, vol. 6, no. 3, p. 178-191.
Kumar, R. (2011), Research Methodology: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners, 3rd edition, New Delhi: Sage.
KwaZulu Natal Planning and Development Commission, (2010), Land Use Management Systems in rural areas.
KwaZulu Natal Province, (2008), KwaZulu Natal Planning and Development Act No 6, 2008.
Magnusson, E. and Marecek, J. (2015), Doing interview-based qualitative research: A learner’s guide, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mitchell, C.J.A. (1998), “Entrepreneurialism, commodification and creative destruction: a model of post-modern community development”, Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 14, no. 3 p. 273-286.
Mitchell, C.J.A. (2013), “Creative destruction or creative enhancement? Understanding the transforming rural spaces”, Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 32, p. 375-389.
Mitchell, C.J.A. and De Waal, S.B. (2009), “Revisiting the model of creative destruction: St Jacobs, Ontario a decade later”, Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 25, no. 1, p. 156-167.
Mitchell, C.J.A. and Vanderwerf, J. (2010), “Creative destruction and trial by space in a historical Canadian Village”, The Geographical Review, vol. 100, no. 3, p. 356-374.
Mitchell, C.J.A., Atkinson, R.G. and Clark, A. (2001), “The creative destruction of Niagara-on-the-Lake”, The Canadian Geographer, vol. 45, no. 92, p. 285-299.
Nkabinde, A.C. (1981), “Welcome Address: Definition of Goals” in A.J. Thembela (ed), A University on an African Soil-Towards a definition of Goals, Proceedings of a symposium held on 7-9 September 1981 at the University of Zululand, KwaDlangezwa, p.1-8.
Patton, M. (1990), Qualitative evaluation and research methods, Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, p. 169-186.
Pickern, G. (2012), “Where Can I Build My Student Housing?” The Politics of Studentification in Athens-Clarke County, Georgi”, Southeastern Geographer, vol. 52, no. 2, p. 113-130.
Powell, K. and Barke, M. (2008), “The impact of students on local house prices: Newcastle upon Tyne, 2000-2005”, Northern Economic Review, no. 38, p. 39-60.
Republic of South Africa, (1998), Municipal Demarcation Act 27 of 1998.
Sabri, S. and Ludin, A.N.M. (2009), “Studentification: Is it a key factor with the residential decision-making process in Kuala Lumpur?”, Paper presented at the South East Asian Technological Universities Consortium (SEATUC), Johor Bahru: 3rd SEATUC Symposium Proceedings.
Smith, D. (2008), “The politics of studentification and (un)balanced urban populations: Lessons for gentrification and sustainable communities”, Urban Studies, vol. 45, no. 12, p. 2541-2564.
Thomsen, J. and Eikemo, T.A. (2010), “Aspects of student housing satisfaction: a quantitative Study”, Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, vol. 25, no. 3, p. 273-293.
UMhlathuze Local Municipality, (2010), Provision of Services to Unplanned, Informal and Illegal Properties throughout Council’s Area of Jurisdiction, A report to the Community Facilitation and Housing Portfolio.
University of Zululand, (2008-2011), Strategy Plan, 20 November 2016, (
University of Zululand, (1999), UNIZULU 99 40 Years: Constructing the Future, KwaDlangezwa
University of Zululand, (2009), The Institutional Operational Plan 2006-2009.
University of Zululand, (2010), Self-Evaluation Portfolio for the Institutional Audit.
University of Zululand, (ND), 1960-2005: 45 Years of Excellence, KwaDlangezwa.
Vandegrift, D., Lockshiss, A. and Larh, M. (2012), “The town versus gown: the effects of a college on housing prices and the tax base”, Growth and change, vol. 43, no. 2, p. 304-334.
Woods, M. (2012), “New directions in rural studies?”, Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 28, p. 1-4.

This post has already been read 3519 times!

About journal

Title: Human Geographies - Journal of Studies and Research in Human Geography
ISSN online: 2067-2284
ISSN print: 1843-6587
Imprint: University of Bucharest
Frequency: Biannual (May&November)
First volume: 1/2007
Current volume: 17/2023
Language: English
Indexed in: SCOPUS, ERIH PLUS, EBSCO (SocINDEX), ProQuest (Social Science Journals, SciTech Journals, Natural Science Journals), Index Copernicus, National Technical Information Service (NTiS), Bodleian Libraries, ExLibris SFX, DOAJ, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Library, Google Scholar, Ulrich
Creative Commons License


Prof. dr. Liliana Dumitrache
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography- Human and Economic Geography Department, 1 Nicolae Balcescu Av., 010041, Bucharest, Romania

Dr. Daniela Dumbrăveanu
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography- Human and Economic Geography Department, 1 Nicolae Balcescu Av., 010041, Bucharest, Romania

Dr. Mariana Nae
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography- Human and Economic Geography Department, 1 Nicolae Balcescu Av., 010041, Bucharest, Romania

Dr. Gabriel Simion
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography- Human and Economic Geography Department, 1 Nicolae Balcescu Av., 010041, Bucharest, Romania

SCImago Journal & Country Rank