The Materials Book

260 1 Ali Mazrui, The African Condition: The Reith Lectures (London: Heinemann, 1980). 2 Achille Mbembe, On the Postcolony (Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2015). 3 The word “value” refers to that which regulates behavior in the absence of rules—or when the rules cannot be applied. 4 Joseph Green, “Global Demand for Cement to Reach 5.2 Billion Tons,” World Cement , August 27, 2015, https://www.worldcement.com /europe-cis/27082015/global-demand-cement -billion-tons- 449/. 5 “Rising Cement Consumption Spells Out Growth for East Africa,” Concrete Trends , October 6, 2015, https://www.concretetrends.co.za/news /rising-cement-consumption-spells-growth-for -east-africa/. develop a curriculum that is responsive to the tensions between social development and environmental sustainability. For example, in South Africa, corrugated fiber-cement roof sheeting is associated with inferior-quality apartheid housing for poor black communities. This stigmatization was made worse by the presence of asbestos. However, despite the removal of asbestos fibers from production, a general aversion to such material remains. Infrastructure materials also carry social-class markers: the schools of the wealthy are built with clay brick; those of poorer communities are built with easily damaged hollow blocks. There is a “sociology” of infrastructure materials, and the curriculum should aim to develop a sensitivity to these issues in our students. There is also a need to stimulate university-based postgraduate and research activities in areas that consider the effective and sustainable usage of materials for infrastructure development on the continent. This is necessary to provide the evidence base for development of policy and regulation for more locally appropriate materials utilization. However, most universities on the continent are yet to recover from decades of underfunding and loss of local intellectual capacity. This will require significant investment in laboratory and testing facilities in African universities as well as attracting high- level teaching and research academics in order to be able to provide supervision for students in areas such as structural efficiency, alternative materials, and durability. Beyond this, researchers must also foster engagement with the infrastructure-materials industry to ensure that the research findings are properly communicated to positively influence design and construction practice. Lastly, many African countries rely on design and construction codes of practice from regions where conditions are very different, and as a result the infrastructure often shows poor durability or serviceability performance. A particular focus on quality management in design and construction is necessary to reduce the margins needed for safety and improve the material efficiency of structures. Codes of practice must be structured to positively influence sustainable approaches in materials utilization. In developing such codes of practice in countries across the continent, there may well be value in drawing on the framework used in the development of multicountry codes of practice, such as those in Europe.

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