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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Issues of race, ethnicity, socio-economic position and spatial acknowlegement in South Africa: how spatial access and expression still perpetuate notions of difference, separation and uncertainty amongst the South African coloured population
Author:Isaacs-Martin, Wendy
Periodical:International Journal of African Renaissance Studies (ISSN 1753-7274)
Geographic term:South Africa
social status
race relations
national identity
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/18186874.2015.1050219
Abstract:While the Native Land Act [Act 27 of 1913] and the Native Trust and Land Act [Act 18 of 1936] dispossessed black South Africans of their land physically, the insidious Group Areas Act [Act 41 of 1950] and the Population Registration Act [Act 30 of 1950] reified perceptions of race and ethnicity in the context of phenotype, culture, language and even religion. Although these Acts were repealed, the legacy remains part of the South African psyche still. Such perceptions are evident in the Coloured communities where the Population Registration Act classified and defined the group as a singular unit while the Group Areas Act segregated and confined them, and restricted their association within the group almost exclusively. This meant that education, access to information, socialising, and religious assembly and to a limited extent employment were restricted mostly to these designated segregated areas. Limited interaction between various legislated groups, even within the Coloured group itself reinforced the socio-economic racial hierarchy and the prejudices linked to economics. The combination of these Acts created an 'us' versus 'them' hostility further (re)enforcing notions of separateness and difference. The article seeks to examine social and racial interpretation (based on income and spatial realities) of the Coloured population in the Eastern Cape and how the group perceives its primary identity and allegiance in terms of ethnicity or national identity as salient in the current socio-political environment. The objectives are first to assert that legislated segregation created rigid jingoist structures of ethnic and racial identities that will take longer to dismantle than the Acts of separation had and secondly that national identity can be salient amongst a minority group irrespective of socio-economic position. The conclusion highlights that the social and identity Acts, spatial acts, regarded once as a legislated absolute, reduced the Coloured communities specifically, to regard themselves as different yet the same, inferior and superior, marginalised yet included, but that this is not incompatible with nation building. Bibliogr., note, sum. [Journal abstract]