oa Alternation - Hostel re-development and emerging conflict for housing tenure within the Umlazi Tehuis in the eThekwini Muncipality - a study of key social polarization indicators

Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



The history of urban landscape formation in South Africa accorded pariah status to hostel dwellers although this marginalized, politically volatile and transient community was central to South Africa's capital accumulation. Hostel dwellers in the city, just like their counterparts in mining compounds were socially polarized, isolated from their black township counterparts and alienated from their rural roots. The system of hostel dwelling was entrenched on a vicious and inhumane migrant labour system. It kept black Africans on a constant treadmill making them move in and out of their rural homestead. This resulted in the lack of social permanence, finding themselves in a state of cultural schizophrenia. Segal (1991), Zulu (1993), Ramphele (1993), Goldstone Commission of Inquiry (1993), Sitas (1996) and Elder (2002) have written extensively on the hostel community and the different facet of social polarization, conflict and violence. However, with the re-development of hostels, a new form of social polarization appears to be in the making.

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