The first chapter of Welcome to Our Hillbrow is entitled “The Map,” and in it Mpe essentially takes the reader on a tour through the streets of Hillbrow, describing it and pointing out landmarks to orient the reader to the physical space where the action of the novel takes place. In an effort to get students invested in the story and to visualize the neighborhood, they are asked to draw out a map of Hillbrow as they imagine it based upon Mpe’s descriptions. Students are not given any further guidance and are left to decide if their map will be literal or more stylized interpretations.
As the students continue reading the second chapter of Welcome to Our Hillbrow, entitled “Notes From Heaven,” they are asked to create a graphic organizer charting the various characters in the novel and their relationships to one another. This helps them make sense of the key players and their interconnectedness; it also helps the students distinguish characters with names that might cause difficulty (e.g. Refentse and Refilwe.)