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Title:Strangling South Africa's Cities: Resistance to Group Areas in Durban during the 1950s
Author:Southworth, Hamilton
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
property rights
urban history
Politics and Government
Ethnic and Race Relations
Urbanization and Migration
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Abstract:The Group Areas Act, enacted in April 1950, gave the national government power to segregate South Africa's cities compulsorily. In Durban, as in other South African cities, the members of Indian and African political organizations and neighbourhood ratepayers associations as well as grassroots protestors fought Group Areas. In 1958, the all-white Durban City Council and many of Durban's whites joined the resistance. The national government, however, ignored their protests, and the resistance failed. During the 1960s, the national government began to remove Durban's nonwhites from their homes and neighbourhoods. An analysis of Durban's resistance to Group Areas and its failure shows how interracial tensions and divisions as well as nonwhite poverty and powerlessness empowered the National Party and how the National Party used its power to create a system of social engineering that divided its victims into competing factions. The analysis also shows how the National Party's idealistic vision behind Group Areas forced a confrontation between it and local government. Notes, ref.