Author: David M. Smith
Apartheid as legislated racial separation substantially changed the South African urban scene. Race group areas' remodelled the cities, while the creation of homelands', mini-states and the pass laws' controlling population migration constrained urbanization itself. In the mid-1980s the old system - having proved economically inefficient and politically divisive - was replaced by a new policy of orderly urbanization'. This sought to accelerate industrialization and cultural change by relaxing the constraints on urbanization imposed by state planning. The result was further political instability and a quarter of the black (or African) population housed in shanty towns. Negotiations between the Nationalist government and the African National Congress are working towards the end of the old apartheid system. Yet the negation of apartheid is only the beginning of the creation of a new society. The vested interests and entrenched ideologies behind the existing pattern of property ownership survive the abolition of apartheid laws. Beyond race, class and ethnicity will continue to divide urban life. If the cities of South Africa are to serve all the people, the accelerating process of urbanization must be brought under control and harnessed to a new purpose. The contributors to this volume draw on a broad range of experience and disciplines to present a variety of perspectives on urban South Africa.