1887

n Historia - “A hygienic Native township shall be developed” : the founding and development of Batho as Bloemfontein’s “model location” (c. 1918‐1939)

Volume 64 Number 2
  • ISSN : 0018-229X
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Abstract

Batho, Bloemfontein’s oldest existing historically black township or “location”, celebrated its centennial in 2018. This “model location” was established in 1918 by the Municipality of Bloemfontein after it decided to demolish the old Waaihoek location. The model location ideology, partly rooted in the image of the Orange Free State “model republic” of the late 1800s, must be seen within the context of the discriminatory segregationist policies of the 1920s and 1930s. The main reasons for Batho’s founding and Waaihoek’s demolition were: i) prejudiced and troubled race relations and racial attitudes; ii) Waaihoek’s close proximity to white Bloemfontein; iii) the growing urbanisation of black and coloured people; iv) the Spanish Influenza epidemic; and v) the building of a new power station for Bloemfontein. Batho became nationally renowned as a model location and an example for others to follow due, in part, to the municipality’s unique housing scheme, namely the Bloemfontein system. The model location ideology influenced Batho’s general layout, size of individual plots, provisioning of public amenities, sound financial administration and limited participative governance in the form of advisory boards. The main thesis is that the municipality’s ideal of a model location was not simply a theoretical and ideological construct, but that it was also materialised in practice.

In 2018 het Batho, Bloemfontein se oudste bestaande histories‐swart township of “lokasie”, sy eeufees gevier. Hierdie “modellokasie” is in 1918 deur die munisipaliteit van Bloemfontein gestig nadat besluit is om die ou Waaihoek‐lokasie te sloop. Die modellokasie‐ideologie, wat deels uit die tyd van die “model republiek” Oranje‐ Vrystaat van die laat 1800’s dateer, moet binne die konteks van die diskriminerende segregasionistiese beleide van die 1920’s en 1930’s beskou word. Die hoofredes vir Batho se stigting en Waaihoek se sloping was: i) bevooroordeelde en vertroebelde rasseverhoudinge en rassehoudinge; ii) Waaihoek se nabyheid aan wit Bloemfontein; iii) die groeiende verstedeliking van swart en bruin mense; iv) die Spaanse griepepidemie; en v) die bou van ’n nuwe kragstasie vir Bloemfontein. Batho het nasionaal as ’n modellokasie bekend geword en as ’n voorbeeld vir ander lokasies gedien, deels vanweë die munisipaliteit se unieke behuisingskema, naamlik die Bloemfonteinsisteem. Die modellokasie‐ideologie het Batho se algemene uitleg, grootte van individuele standplase, voorsiening van openbare geriewe, behoorlike finansiële administrasie en beperkte deelnemende bestuur in die vorm van adviesrade, beïnvloed. Die hoofargument is dat die munisipaliteit se ideaal van ’n modellokasie nie bloot ’n teoretiese en ideologiese konstruk was nie, maar ook in die praktyk gerealiseer het.

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/content/journal/10520/EJC-1a9ffc7627
2019-11-01
2020-09-29

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