The Oude Molen Ecovillage As Community of Ad-Balls: Navigating between Efficiency and Solidarity

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:50
Oral Presentation
Antje DANIEL, University Bayreuth, Germany
‘You never change the existing reality by fighting it. Instead, create a new model that makes the old one obsolete.’ With this quotation of the architect and designer Buckminster Fuller Oude Molen ecovillage describes his vision for an alternative and sustainable future. The ecovillage Oude Molen was initiated in 1997 by social entrepreneurs who transformed the abandoned hospital complex in Cape Town’s area Pinelands into a micro-enterprise ecovillage which also hosts non-profit-organizations and community development programs. Oude Molen ecovillage is a vibrant and diverse community that provides jobs, food security and youth development to the local, neighborhood and outlying communities in the region. Many tenants experienced poverty and/or marginalization due to their life style in the post-apartheid area or due to the recent economic decline. At Oude Molen they got the possibility to start their own business, gain independence but also to contribute to the surrounding community. Oude Molen can be described by the emic term used – as a ‘community of ad-balls’ which highlights the contradiction between solidarity and individualized economic behavior. Community of ad-balls describes a group of isolated entrepreneurs, living at the margins of society but still have the ability to interlink and to contribute to community development. Thus, the paper discusses on the basis of Oude Molen ecovillage the contradiction between the individualized and efficiency based behavior of entrepreneurship and solidarity and therewith highlights how people organized themselves, how they practice solidarity, aspire for a sustainable change without sharing a world view or common interest.