This study aims at investigating the way residents perceive their built environment in the informal settlements which are assumed to be the best field of knowledge as they are least affected by formalistic rules of the built form transformation game. The purpose of this paper is to identify residents#39 innate experiences of their built form. The researchers#39 experience on informal settlements and a transect walk conducted during the field studies at Mlalakuwa has made it possible for the researcher to clearly verify and reflect upon the applicability and universality of Lynch#39s (1960) perceptual theory on the quotImage of the Cityquot. The study realized the residents#39 understanding of the built environment through Lynch#39s five elements of legibility namely nodes, paths, edges, landmarks and districts which were encapsulated through a research based on the Eurocentric and Western Countries ideology. Data for this study were collected through qualitative research method, which involved the use of multiple tools which included in-depth interviews, observations, photographing, recording and sketching of the existing situation. Interviews and discussions with professionals, developers, residents, and non-residents were effectively conducted and narratives were produced. Moreover, archival outsourcing aiming at tracing the processes of transformation and review of literature create a body of knowledge which gravitate the context of informal settlements. The study sought to explore and document the five elements of legibility in informal settlements particularly in Mlalakuwa. Varying types of elements of legibility of the built form, their emergence and their roles were identified and analyzed. Urban nodes include bars, social halls, social clubs, religious buildings, gasoline filling stations, banks, garages, parking areas and education buildings. Landmarks include communication towers, electric transformers, high rise office buildings, and trees. Urban edges include roads, rivers, and bridges. Path include setbacks of buildings within the private properties. Districts are not apparent. Residents use references which are not seen from far to direct movement in the landscape. Those include famous people#39s residences, old buildings, milling factories, road type (tarmac road), religious buildings, bus stops, taxis/motorcycles/bajaj stands and bajaj stations. This paper urges urban designers, urban architects and urban planners to understand informal and formal settlements through the native elements of readability when they are carrying out design and supervision of informal settlements upgrading and regularization, and restoration and revitalization of cities. However, native elements of legibility are congruent to Lynchrsquos four elements namely node, landmark, edge, and path. Districts are not apparent due to cacophonic space sizes, development densities, and lack of technological consistency.