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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Apartheid's 'Testing Ground': Urban 'Native Policy' and African Politics in Brakpan, South Africa,1943-1948
Author:Sapire, HilaryISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:South Africa
municipal government
urban areas
Ethnic and Race Relations
Urbanization and Migration
Politics and Government
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Abstract:This article examines State 'urban native' policy in the Witwatersrand, South Africa, in the 1940s from the perspective of local State officials, those individuals most intimately concerned with the day-to-day administration of urban African communities in the rapidly industrializing Witwatersrand of the 1940s. Through the narrative of a deep personal antagonism between David Wilcox Bopape, an African politician in the Witwatersrand location of Brakpan, and F.J. Language, a white administrator, the article explores the intersection of two microcosms: the world of the Afrikaner intellectual, educated in the tradition of 'volkekunde' and thereby claiming expert knowledge of the African, and the real worlds of the Africans the expert claimed to know - themselves shaped by new, radical currents in the changing wartime urban context. Using the Brakpan case study, the article also shows that in contrast to the national government's fumbling indecision in the face of the urban crisis, it was the municipalities which agitated for State control over all Africans, tighter influx and efflux controls and more efficient distribution of African labour between different economic sectors. In voicing their discontent with State policy and in their policy improvisations, local officials anticipated much in the apartheid order of the 1950s. Notes, ref., sum.