1887

n Historia - eMatsheni : the central beer hall as social and municipal infrastructure in twentieth century Pietermaritzburg

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Abstract

Southern African cities have quietly developed by plugging new civic infrastructure that supported their operations into the urban environment, often with ad hoc decisions eliciting public outcry. Occasionally, legislative imperatives led to active protest, particularly the implementation of early versions of Group Area legislation. In the early twentieth century, the Pietermaritzburg corporation was torn between the need to accommodate Africans within the city for labour purposes and simultaneously, the need to follow legislations which restricted exactly this. Accommodating labour was the key component of the Durban System allowing for the control of African beer consumption while providing vital municipal revenue. The requisite buildings thus formed a vital part of city infrastructure. The original central beer hall was located close to the city hall and other important centres of civic society. It was marked for closure in the early 1930s, and reconstructed in a part of the city populated largely by mixed race and Indian people who protested vociferously at its development. This article discusses the public consultation process and the formation of the beer hall as a core of African-centred development on the periphery of the city. It concludes by commenting on the structures in contemporary Pietermaritzburg and their potential for future, meaningful development.

Suid-Afrikaanse stede het gaandeweg ontwikkel deur die toevoeging van nuwe stedelike infrastrukture wat hul werksaamhede in die stads-omgewing ondersteun het dikwels deur ad hoc besluitneming met gevolglike publieke reaksie. Wetgewende opdragte het nou en dan gely tot daadwerklike protes aksie in besonder die implementering van vroeëre weergawes van die Wet op Groeps Gebiede. Die Pietermaritzburg munisipale bestuurders was verdeeld in die vroeë jare van die twintigste eeu oor die noodsaakliheid om voorsiening te maak vir akkommodasie van swart arbeid in die stad en tegelykertyd die toepassing van wetgewing wat dit beperk het. Om die werkers te akkommodeer, was die sleutel element van die Durban-sisteem terwyl die geoorloofde verbruik van Afrika-bier voorsiening gemaak het vir noodsaakliheid munisipale inkomste. Die betrokke geboue vorm dus 'n belangrike aspek van die stedelike infrastruktuur. Die oorspronlike sentraal biersaal was naby die stadsaal en ander belangrike munisipale en burgerlike sentrums. In die vroeë dertiger jare was dit geoormerk vir sluiting en vir herontwikkeling in 'n gedeelte van die stad waar gemeenskappe, meestal van gemengde en Indiër oorsprong woonagtig was, hewig protes aangeteken het teen die ontwikkeking daarvan. Hierdie artikel bespreek bogenoemde gebeure, die deelname van die publieke protes aksie en die ontwikkeling van die biersaal op die buiterand van die stad as die kern van Afrikagesentreerde ontwikkeling. Ter afsluitung sal die artikel kommentaar lewer op huidige strukture in Pietermaritzburg en die potentiaal daarvan op toekomstige sinvolle ontwikkeling.

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/content/hist/60/1/EJC171165
2015-01-01
2016-12-03
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