System D

Wiseman, Mondesa.

Just as they sink into the warmest, and most fertile of soils my roots are clipped, and I’m back off to the other end of the rhizome. New York to Namibia, Brooklyn to Swakopmund, Williamsburg to Mondesa. Swakopmund and the Moon; as far removed from my life in Brooklyn as each other. Mondesa: the crowded desert shack slum of Namibia, trimmed of excess fat. The way my chicken is when I steam it over the stock in my condo in Williamsburg. Breaking the experience in half, somehow.

People come together over drinks. A gin and tonic in Greenpoint, an ice cold Umqombothi in Mondesa, something refreshing after a long hard day. Elisa, a friend from Texas wrapped it up with a purple bow when she complained the bank balance of her film about brains and consciousness was on the lean side. The way one standing beside a heap of smoking burning garbage melting black plastic bags into the desert sand would be. On the lean side; waiting in a queue at the Mondesa communal water pump.

Main Street, Mondesa.

A speaker functions as a table top inside Willy’s lounge.

Laid out partly on grids and partially electrified, Mondesa is touched with a Joie de vivre. ‘The location’, as shanty towns like Mondesa are known, are shining examples of the French term ‘démerder’. Also known as System D, a way of responding to challenges which requires the ability to think fast, adapt and improvise when getting a job done. Like getting yourself out of the shit. DRC, the slum of Mondesa, is home to a man named Elephant. If I go to him I can get a good bicycle for less than US$100. Previously ridden by a thoughtful and caring, privileged teenager in Perth. Plugging Elephant into the economy in an informal way.

‘You can learn a thing or two from Elephant’ I remarked to Elisa as she encapsulated her complaint with; ‘hash tag white girl problems. Haha. No but seriously get me an investor!’

Shack 666, DRC, Mondesa, Swakopmund. Superstition holds little sway in this desert camp.

A prime example of the hundreds upon hundreds of barber shops, beauty parlours and Happy Hair Salons;
the mitochondria of the informal economy here.


A Windhoek Public Bus wins against the salty elements here to become a home.

Some Brooklyn style fun with the camera on the Nauklift Plain.


Written by Kyle Tregurtha. 

Swakopmund, Nambia | Doing our part to combat immappancy 

All images courtesy of Jason Eric Hardwick.


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