Invest in Khensani - Invest in African Cities


My name is Khensani de Klerk and I am a junior architect and planner. I have been accepted at the University of Cambridge to do an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design and have also been accepted at KTH Sweden to do a Master of Science in Architecture. Both of these institutions are valuable for different reasons and will certainly mould the agency I will have to make a difference in built design transformation in Africa. 

My passion lies in contributing to the growing archive of contemporary African spatial knowledge media both through knowledge production and active design practice. 

I need your help to fund my studies - the only obstacle challenging a future that will certainly yield benefits not only for me but for you, through the guaranteed dedication I have to contributing to transformation in the future built environment. An investment in me, is an investment in developing cities. Here is how…

In the case that I raise sufficient funds to study at The University of Cambridge, my thesis will focus on improving safety in African cities for women through infrastructure and public space. It is no secret that South Africa is the most unequal country in the world, and as a women who engages, at many times with struggle, in the public realm, our cities have become a platform for violence with responses of hyper-privacy. A big factor that has caused and worsened this problem is infrastructure: in South Africa, infrastructure from the Apartheid regime lingers, amplifying division amongst groups. Coupled with our turbulent economy and class divide, the poor suffer the most - deemed to using, tackling and negotiating public space designed inefficiently for them. I have dedicated my studies and work experience thus far to moulding unique ideas and thinking processes that can break down these divisive urban tools, and introduce freedom through agency: that agency I believe lies in mobility and safety. To move, and to move safely. 

I spent a year living, working and studying in Zurich which showed me the possibilities of how it feels and what it means to move freely and safely across cities. Africa cannot be compared to European contexts, but I believe strongly that there is an abundant amount of information exchange and learning that can occur between the global north and global south. Innovation in how these spaces are maintained, financed and designed are at the crux of my interest- planning. 

MY BACKGROUND: why investing in me is a low risk investment:

I have recently completed postgraduate studies in City and Regional Planning at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa where I was awarded the best Metropolitan Planning Project from the Western Cape Government. Prior to this, I completed a bachelors degree in Architecture and graduated with distinction at UCT. I was then invited to do a research fellowship at The Chair of Architecture and Urban Design at ETH Zürich, Switzerland as an invited visiting research student. Concurrent to this fellowship, I interned at pluri-disciplinary research design studio Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) based in Zürich. Throughout this academic journey I have been blessed to have received funding through scholarships and alternative streams such as part time work.

My family is not equip to assist in funding this trajectory and it motivates me that my long term efforts will also guarantee them a more comfortable future. I am currently working at Local Studio in Johannesburg which is one of the very few architecture studios making a concerted effort to feasibly contributing to transformation in the South African urban context. To reassure your investment, I would like to emphasise that my ethos lies in socio-sustainability which means infrastructure that can respond to fluctuating economies and ecologies .  I am certain that if I study at KTH in Sweden, the sustainable development goals set out by the UN will be able to be refined with relevance to the multilayered complexities of Southern cities. Environmental sustainability through local materials and cultural importance are also in the compartment of my design priorities. 

I am in a desperate situation, as majority of our country is. I intend to syphon all of my efforts back to improving the state of our nation and other African countries alike.


I am certain that the outcomes of this thesis will be implemented and prototyped through Matri-Archi(tecture)  - a collective that I recently founded and co-direct with a partner and fellow architect in Switzerland. We are young, learning and driven.  Matri-Archi is a design, research  and film-making collective geared at exploring intersectional narratives and African place-making. Matri-Archi hosts a  digital network of members in the spatial industry across the globe and African continent. 

Here are some important dates and milestones to keep in mind- its looking VERY TIGHT! 



100 000 CHF/

£ 85 000 /

100 000 SEK /

$ 100 000 /

€ 95 000 / 

I would need half by the end of May 2019 in order to register with tuition. 

Any contribution will help - I am certain of it. Every single donor who funds me will be included in my thesis acknowledgements, and the a special plaque in the built project outcome will feature all names of contributors. As my capacity grows, so too will these benefits. I am waiting on scholarships and in the case they add to this contribution, I will reduce the milestone goal.

A big thank you to Solange Mbanefo, my Matri-Archi partner and soul sister for hosting this campaign in Switzerland! And thank you for taking the time to read.

Donations (0)

  • GoFundMe Team 
    • 500 CHF 
    • 3 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • 150 CHF 
    • 4 mos
  • Martha Pendu 
    • 60 CHF 
    • 4 mos
  • Solange Mbanefo 
    • 299 CHF 
    • 4 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • 86 CHF 
    • 4 mos


Khe de K 
Basel, BS, Switzerland
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