Open main menu

The town of Hankey (foreground), with accompanying township (background) on the edge of the town.
Children in a township near Cape Town in 1989
Children in a township near Cape Town

In South Africa, the terms township and location usually refer to the often underdeveloped racially segregated urban areas that, from the late 19th century until the end of apartheid, were reserved for non-whites, namely Indians, Africans and Coloureds. Townships were usually built on the periphery of towns and cities.[1][2] The term township also has a distinct legal meaning in South Africa's system of land title, which carries no racial connotations.

Townships for non-whites were also called locations or lokasies in Afrikaans, and are often still referred to by that name in smaller towns. The slang term "kasie", a popular short version of "lokasie" is also used. Townships sometimes have large informal settlements nearby.

Contents

HistoryEdit

Early developmentEdit

During the first half of the twentieth century, a clear majority of the black population in major urban areas lived in hostels or servants’ accommodations provided by employers and were mostly single men. In the period during and following World War II urban areas of South Africa experienced a rapid period of urbanisation as the colour bar was relaxed due to the war. Neither employers nor the government built new accommodation or homes for the influx of new residents. This led to overcrowding, poor living conditions, and the absence of amenities thereby contributing to high levels of crime and violence. High rents and overcrowding led to land invasions and the growth of shack settlements which were largely ignored by government.[3]

By 1950 a substantial proportion of the urban black population lived in townships. In 1950, upwards of 100,000 people were living in townships on the Witwatersrand area, 50,000 people in Cato Manor in Durban, and an estimated 150,000 black and coloured people lived in townships in Cape Town.[3]

Living conditions in the shack township settlements were low but had the advantage over other more established options in the hostels of being cheap and largely unregulated by the apartheid era South African Police.[3]

Apartheid: 1948-1994Edit

During the era of ideological apartheid, black people were evicted from properties that were in areas designated as "white only" and forced to move into segregated townships. Separate townships were established for each of the three designated non-white race groups - black people, Coloureds and Indians - as per the Population Registration Act, 1950. Legislation that enabled the apartheid government to do this included the Group Areas Act.

=== aidsin parts of Soweto and Chatsworth. Despite their origins in apartheid South Africa, today the terms township, location and informal settlement are not used pejoratively. However policy makers are, as in the 1950s, once again using the term 'slums' in a highly pejorative way.[4]

Social issuesEdit

Township communities are faced with several social problems. Most often, the residents of townships do not own the land on which their houses are built. In effect, these houses are built illegally.[5] Construction is informal and unregulated by the government. This results in a lack of access to basic services such as sewerage, electricity, roads and clean water, which adversely affects residents' quality of life.[5]

Infrastructure problemsEdit

Sewerage, water, and electrical Infrastructure within townships is often in need of repair, resulting in a lack of sanitation due to problems with accessibility, and availability. Electricity, water and sewerage are managed by different government departments, resulting in inefficiencies in the absence of substantial co-ordination at all stages of the project planning, budgeting, and implementation cycle.[5]

SewerageEdit

 
Khayelitsha, Township along N2 road near Cape Town (2015)

The sewerage system within the townships is poorly planned and constructed.[citation needed] The population of the townships typically grows faster than the infrastructure was planned for, causing overloads which result in blockages, surges, and overflows. There are often a limited number of ebolaof the areas on the township peripheries or near riverbanks do not have access to facilities because they are not connected to the formal waterborne sewerage system.[citation needed]

WaterEdit

A consequence of inadequate pumping infrastructure and large populations is that water pressure in townships is low. With each section of the townships is normally one pump per section. The water is used for everything from cleaning clothes, cooking, drinking, bathing, and cleaning the house. Having very little water accessible to each section makes it very hard to get enough water for a day per household.[5]

 
The only water pump in that area of the township

[citation needed]

ElectricityEdit

Electrical wires strung along the trees leading to power boxes is an ubiquitous sight in the townships, due to illegal electricity connections. This is dangerous, however every house in the area has a wire coming out of it and every wire is known by their owner in order to fix problems as soon as they arise.[6] Most of the sub-stations are very unsecured to begin with so having so many additional wires coming off of it is very dangerous analsexhem electricity but if they were to install more sub-stations then the problem would be solved.[5][neutrality is disputed]

 
Electricity wires in a township near Cape Town

Flood riskEdit

Some townships, such as Alexandra and Diepsloot, are built near rivers, and on flood plains. These areas are extremely dense with only tortuous, narrow access, few communal water points and banks of chemical toilets on the peripheries of the settlements. The settlements are beginning to be built in the old tributaries due to the continuing growth of the townships. With the houses in the dried up tributaries is a potential problem when a large storm comes and the tributary starts to fill up with water again or if there is a backup of sewerage coming into the tributary. The houses built in that area are all in danger of being destroyed by natural occurrences. As the area grew the tributaries were piped and a number of concrete aprons and gullies were constructed over the tributary to which the communal water points drain. The gullies were then choked with garbage and the tributaries appear to be substantially blocked but this will not hold off the water for very long if a flood came through.[5] Residents sometimes choose to build on river banks due to overcrowding in the belief that they would provide easy access to water and laundry facilities, however the water is unsuitable for these purposes due to pollution, and they are vulnerable to floods.[citation needed]

Backyard shacksEdit

Backyard shacks are additional units on a plot of land that are rented out by the land owner for additional income. A plot of land designed for a house big enough for one family has turned into a plot of land that holds on average six families instead of one.[5] These structures are illegally built without in violation of planning and building codes and strain infrastructure. Governments are loathe to act on backyard dwellings, doing to would result in a large-scale displacement of people.[citation needed] A 2001 study of the township called Diepsloot near Johannesburg showed that 24% of the residents lived in brick structures, 43% were in shack areas, and 27% were in backyard shacks.[6]

EducationEdit

 
Schoolboy at the Lukhanyo Primary School, Zwelihle Township (Hermanus, South Africa)

Township schools are often overcrowded, and lack adequate infrastructure.[citation needed] There is a high dropout rate of poor youth, particularly around Grade 9.[citation needed][7] Despite government interventions, education outcomes remain skewed, with township students continuing to under-perform.{{fact|date=February 2019majdwhgvj.EWG:KFReferenceA">Motloung, Hloni. "Township and Rural Schools continue to be marginalized as inequality in the education system persists commented Graeme Bloch, Education Specialist, Development Bank of Southern Africa at the Knowledge Week." n.d. n. page. Print.</ref> The formerly white schools uniformly produce better results and their governing bodies are able to raise substantial private funds used to get resources that are then unreachable by the rural and township schools which survive on the commitment of their teachers.[8]

Gangs and violenceEdit

Gangs are a problem in townships, and children as young as 12 or 13 will begin initiation into a local gang. Some see violence and gangs as a way of life and a culture.[citation needed] The weapon of choice for most is a gun and with easy accessibility anyone is able to get one.[citation needed] It is estimated that out of the 14 million guns in circulation, in South Africa, only four million are registered and licensed to legal gun owners.[9]

Largest townshipsEdit

Largest townships in South Africa at the time of the 2011 census:

Township Population Neighbouring city/town
Soweto 1,271,628 Johannesburg
Tembisa 463,109 Kempton Park
Katlehong 407,294 Germiston
Umlazi 404,811 Durban
Soshanguve 403,162 Pretoria
Khayelitsha 391,749 Cape Town
Mamelodi 334,577 Pretoria
Mitchell's Plain 310,485 Cape Town
Daveyton / Etwatwa 279,033 Benoni
Ibhayi 237,799 Port Elizabeth
Sebokeng 218,515 Vanderbijlpark
Mangaung 217,076 Bloemfontein
Ivory Park 184,383 Midrand
Botshabelo 181,712 Bloemfontein
Alexandra 179,624 Johannesburg
Kwa-Mashu 175,663 Durban
Vosloorus 163,216 Boksburg
Mdantsane 156,835 East London
Meadowlands 138,354 Roodepoort
Tsakane 135,994 Brakpan
Thabong 135,613 Welkom
Evaton 132,851 Vanderbijlpark
Township Population Neighbouring city/town
Ntuzuma 125,394
Madadeni 119,497 Newcastle
Embalenhle 118,889 Secunda
Kagiso 115,802 Krugersdorp
Mabopane 110,972 Pretoria
KwaNobuhle 107,407 Uitenhage
Saulsville 105,208 Pretoria
Jouberton 104,977 Klerksdorp
Thokoza 105,827 Alberton
KwaThema 99,517 Springs, Gauteng
Guguletu 98,468 Cape Town
Diepsloot 95,067 Johannesburg
Ga-Rankuwa 90,945 Pretoria
Seshego 83,863 Polokwane
Edendale 79,573 Pietermaritzburg
Osizweni 77,845 Newcastle
Orange Farm 76,767 Johannesburg
Hlubi 73,931 Newcastle
Duduza 73,295 Nigel, Gauteng
Mpumalanga 62,406 Pinetown
Matsulu 47,306 Mbombela
Mahwelereng 41,072 Mokopane
Sharpeville 37,599 Vereeniging
Namakgale 36,365 Phalaborwa
Ipelegeng 35,495 Schweizer-Reneke
Mankweng 33,783 Polokwane
Imbali 30,157 Pietermaritzburg

Legal meaningEdit

The legal meaning of the term "township" in South Africa differs from the popular usage, and has a precise legal meaning[10][11] without any racial connotations. The term is used in land titles and townships are subdivided into erfs (stands).[12] "Township" can also mean a designated area or district. For instance "Industrial Township" has been used in reference to an industrial area, e.g. "Westmead Industrial Township", in Pinetown, South Africa.

Often a township (in the legal sense) is established, and then adjoining townships, with the same name as the original township, and with a numbered "Extension" suffix are later established.[citation needed] For example, the Johannesburg suburb of Bryanston has an extension called Bryanston Extension 3 [1].

Relationship with "suburb"Edit

In traditionally or historically white areas, the term "suburb" is used for legally-defined residential townships in everyday conversation.

A suburb's boundaries are often regarded as being the same as the (legal) township boundaries, along with its numbered extensions, and it usually shares its name with the township (with some notable exceptions, such as the Johannesburg suburb known as Rivonia, which is actually the township of Edenburg with numbered extensions called Rivonia Extensions).

Occasionally formerly independent towns, such as Sandton (which itself consists of numerous suburbs), are referred to as "suburbs" [2].

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Pettman, Charles (1913). Africanderisms; a glossary of South African colloquial words panisd and other names. Longmans, Green and Co. p. 298.
  2. ^ International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (PDF). p. 406.
  3. ^ a b c Seekings, Jeremy; Nattrass, Nicoli (2005). "Class, Race, and Inequality in South Africa" (PDF). sahistory.org.za. Yale University Press. p. 63. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  4. ^ Huchzermeyer, M., (2011).Cities with ‘Slums’: From Informal Settlement Eradication to a Right To The City In Africa University of Cape Town Press, Cape Town
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Interactive Planning Workshop for Johannesburg. Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council. Johannesburg, South Africa. 27–30 September 2000. Web. 8 October 2011. <http://web.mit.edu/urbanupgrading/upgrading/case-examples/overview-africa/alexandra-township.html>
  6. ^ a b Harber, Anton. Diepsloot. Jeppestown: Jonathan Ball Publishers LTD, 2011. 2011. 1-226. Print.
  7. ^ "Education in South Africa". SouthAfrica.info. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 October 2011. Archived from the original on 17 June 2010.
  8. ^ Cite error: The named reference ReferenceA was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  9. ^ "Guns, gangs and culture of violence." BBC News. (2002): n. page. Web. 19 October 2011. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1919382.stm>
  10. ^ http://www.lawsoc.co.za/webs/surveyorgeneral/survey_system_sa/survey_system_sa.doc
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "project management - tenure of land - development - community - south africa". www.lts.co.za.

External linksEdit