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Housing in the Apartheid City of Former South Africa

Monday, 17 December 2012 00:00
Housing in the Apartheid City, by Dick Urban Vestbro, Prof. Emer. at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

Housing in the Apartheid City, by Dick Urban Vestbro, Prof. Emer. at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

by Dick Urban Vestbro, Prof. Emer. at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

The article was originally written in 1999 as part of a report by students of architecture at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. The report was a result of a course on third world housing given by Prof Vestbro and included a fieldwork in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. In 2012 the paper was slightly revised.

In this chapter a description is given of the South African “Bantu” housing policy during the reign of the white minority regime. The racist character of apartheid housing and town planning is analysed. Motives are searched behind the various types of housing developed for blacks in urban areas. It is shown how South Africa in the 1950s, at the cost of a repressive system, became the only African country to eradicate the shanty towns. It is also shown why the shantytowns came back in the 1980s. A special analysis is made of South African housing as a result of modernist doctrines, and to what extent this doctrine contra- dicts the apartheid ideology of ‘separate development’.

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