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n Historia - From "Native Village" to "Dark City" : population growth, class, politics and local administration in Alexandra township, South Africa, 1933-1943

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Abstract

<b>Van "Native Village" tot "Dark City" : bevolkingsgroei, klas, politieke en plaaslike administrasie in Alexandra township, Suid-Afrika, 1933-1943</b> <br>Hierdie artikel voer aan dat spanning gedurende die 1930's toenemend tussen perseeleienaars en huurders in Alexandra Township, Suid-Afrika, asook tussen beide groepe inwoners aan die een kant en die wit owerhede aan die ander ontwikkel het. Gedurende dié dekade het die botsende belange van die aanwesige klasse en die dubbelsinnigheid van perseeleienaars se posisie egter verhoed dat enige herkenbare vorm van massaweerstand in die gebied ontstaan het. In die vroeë 1930's was nasionale organisasies nog swak, wat veroorsaak het dat daar 'n gebrek aan sodanige aktiwiteite in Alexandra was. Afrika-nasionalistiese politieke aktiwiteit het eers in beweging gekom teen die einde van die 1930's as reaksie op Eerste Minister J.B.M. Hertzog se beperkende wetgewing. <br>Hoewel daar klasseverskille tussen perseeleienaars en huurders in Alexandra was, was daar geen verenigde aksie binne die afsonderlike twee groepe nie. Huurders het soms verenig, maar was nie in staat om voortdurend te protesteer teen die perseeleienaars wat hulle toegang tot behuising en waterhulpbronne beheer het nie. Die eienaars, aan die ander kant, was weer verdeeld tussen verskillende faksies wat te voorskyn gekom het uit die kompetisie vir setels in die Alexandra Gesondheidskomitee (AGK) gedurende die 1920's en vroeë 1930's. Tydens die grootste gedeelte van hierdie dekade was protes gerig teen die AGK en dié komitee se toenemend outokratiese wit leier, Herbert Falwasser. <br>Onder leiding van Falwasser het die AGK verbeterings aangebring aan sanitasie, paaie en watervoorsiening, maar die provinsiale owerheid was nie bereid om die magte aan die AGK te gee wat nodig was om 'n bevolking groter as die meeste wit munisipaliteite na behore te kan hanteer nie. Gevolglik het Falwasser se benadering tot administrasie al meer diktatoriaal geword, sodat hy eerder soos 'n munisipale lokasiebestuurder as die voorsitter van 'n gesondheidkomitee begin optree het. Sy houding het teen die einde van die 1930's wydverspreide opposisie tot gevolg gehad. Die vorme protes daarteen, wat al hoe meer op openbare aksie staatgemaak het, het die grondslag gelê vir groter protesaksies wat in die 1940's gevolg het.

This article argues that greater tensions developed between standholders and tenants in Alexandra Township, South Africa, during the 1930s, as well as between both groups of residents and white authorities. However, during this decade, conflicting class interests and the ambiguity of standholders' position prevented the appearance of any recognizable form of mass resistance in the township. National organisations were weak in the early 1930s, which resulted in an absence of activity in Alexandra. African national political activity was galvanized during the late 1930s in response to Prime Minister Hertzog's restrictive legislation. <br>Though there were class divisions between standholders and tenants within Alexandra, there was not unified action within each group. Tenants united at times, but could not challenge standholders who controlled access to housing and water-resources consistently. Standholders were divided between various factions that emerged out of competition for seats in the Alexandra Health Committee (AHC) during the 1920s and early 1930s. During much of the decade, protest was levelled at the AHC and its increasingly autocratic white leader, Herbert Falwasser. <br>The AHC under Falwasser made improvements in sanitation, roads, and water-supply, but the Provincial Administration would not grant the powers which the AHC needed to cope with a population larger than all but a handful of white municipalities. As a result, Falwasser became more dictatorial in his approach to administration, acting more like a municipal location manager than the chairman of a health committee. Falwasser's attitude created widespread opposition by the late 1930s. The form of protests, which increasingly relied on public action, set the groundwork for larger protests that emerged in the 1940s.

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/content/hist/51/1/EJC38216
2006-05-01
2016-12-03
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