Caroline Poole

MA student

Project title: An exploratory study of socio-economic conditions and social resilience in the community of Vanwyksvlei in the Northern Cape, in the light of the town’s proximity to the Global Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Project.


Poverty is endemic in South Africa and the attack on poverty is a top priority on the country’s political agenda.  South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP) for 2030 states unequivocally that the main aim of the NDP is to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. With this as contextual background, Caroline’s research project involves an in-depth exploratory study of socio-economic conditions and social resilience in the small town of Vanwyksvlei in the Northern Cape Province. Vanwyksvlei falls within the Kareeberg municipality. It can only be accessed via a gravel road. It is located approximately 80 kilometres to the north of Carnarvon, the centre of the Kareeberg Municipality, and some 70kms east of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) site; it has been targeted as one of the local beneficiary communities of this international astronomy project. Against the backdrop of the relative isolation, vulnerability and high levels of poverty in the community of Vanwyksvlei, as well as the local community development commitments of the SKA, Caroline’s study aims to explore local people’s understandings of their development needs in Vanwyksvlei and to measure the extent of social resilience in te town, in order to gauge local capacity to address the challenges they face. A secondary focus of the study is to explore the prospects for linking the community’s identified needs to possible resources available via the SKA’s community development initiatives.

Keywords: Socio-economic survey; social resilience; sustainable development; Square Kilometre Array (SKA).