Separate Space and Shared Space in Post-Apartheid South Africa

  • Anthony Lemon University of Oxford
Keywords: Apartheid, land reform, restitution, land tenure, desegregation, urbanization, urban development


Apartheid represented an ambitious but doomed attempt to remould South Africa's human geography. Attempts to reform the system but preserve white control in the 1980s were the precursor of fundamental political and constitutional change in the early 1990s. Change in the social and economic spheres is fundamentally constrained by the apartheid heritage. This is explored here in relation to two key spatial issues: sharing the land and sharing the cities. The context and problems of sharing the land are considered, paying particular attention to local complexity and community participation. Post-apartheid policies and legislation concerning the 'three Rs'-restitution, redistribution and reform of land tenure-are described and assessed in relation to their intended aims of social justice, the alleviation of poverty, national reconciliation and economic growth. The sharing of urban space is similarly constrained by the apartheid heritage, especially the effects of legally imposed racial segregation and racially discriminatory influx controls. Issues considered here include the extent, patterns and consequences of residential desegregation, and the influence of planning policies including land zoning and acquisition on urbanization, informal settlement and the spatial form of the post-apartheid city. The government's response to these problems, including its Urban Development Strategy, is discussed


Bekker, S.B. and Humphries, R. (1985) From Control to Confusion: The Changing Role of Administration Boards in South Africa. Pietermaritzburg: Shuter and Shooter, in association with the Institute of Social and Economic Research, Rhodes University, Grahamstown.

Beinart, W (1994) Farmers' strategies and land reform in the Orange Free State. Review of African Political Economy, 21:389-402.

Bernstein, A. and McCarthy, J. J. (eds.) (1990) Opening the Cities: Comparative Perspectives on Desegregation. Johannesburg: Urban Foundation Indicator Project.

Black, P. and Roux, A. (1991) Regional subsidies and the decentralisation policy in South Africa. Development Southern Africa, 8:305-12.

Bond, P., Mayekiso, M., Miller, D. and Swilling, M. (1996) Response to Government's draft urban development strategy document. Urban Forum, 7: 101-20.

Buckle, T. (1995) Land relations and social dynamics: Reflections on contemporary land issues in South Africa, with particular reference to the Eastern Cape. In Lemon, A. (ed.) The Changing Geography of South Africa. Chichester: John Wiley, pp. 64-84.

Business Day (1996a) Government land reform 'unrealistic'-farmers. 18 October.

Business Day (1996b) Land reform stocktaking. 27 November.

Business Day (1997a) Land delays. Editorial comment, 20 August.

Business Day (1997b) Settlement act creates poverty traps, says SAAU. 30 October.

Business Day (1997c) Fears of white farmers 'nursed for too long by ANC govt'. 26 February.

Business Day (1997 d) Urban framework to promote vision of sustainable cities. 14 November.

Calitz, J. (1996) Population of SA: Updated estimates, scenarios and projections, 1990-2020. Centre for Policy and Information, Development Bank of Southern Africa, Development Paper no. 109.

CDE (Centre for Development and Enterprise) (1996) Response to the Government's draft urban development strategy document. Urban Forum, 7:90-100.

Cernea, M. (1996) The risks and reconstruction model for resettling displaced populations. Keynote address presented at the International Conference on Reconstructing Livelihoods: Towards New Approaches to Resettlement. Refugee Studies Programme, University of Oxford, 9-13 September.

Christianson, D. (1995) Cut and come again: The quest for viable rural local government. Development Southern Africa, 12:613-9.

Christopher, A.J. (1983) From Flint to Soweto: Reflections on the colonial origins of the apartheid city. Area, 15: 145-9.

Christopher, A.J. (1989) Spatial variations in the application of residential segregation in South African cities. Geoforum, 20:253-67.

Christopher, A.J. (1990) Apartheid and urban segregation levels in South Africa. Urban Studies, 27:417-36.

Christopher, A.J. (1991) Changing patterns of group area proclamation in South Africa, 1950-1989. Political Geography Quarterly, 10:240-53.

Christopher, A.J. (1994) The Atlas of Apartheid. London: Routledge, and Johannnesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.

Cloete, F. (1995) Local Government Transformation in South Africa. Hatfield, Pretoria: J.L.van Schaik.

Cobbett, M.(1987) The land question in South Africa: A preliminary assessment. South African Journal of Economics, 55 :63-77.

Crankshaw, O. (1993) Squatting, apartheid and urbanisation on the southern Witwatersrand. African Affairs, 92(366):31-51.

Crankshaw, O. and Parnell, S. (1996) Housing policy and the need for an urbanization policy in the new South Africa. Urban Forum, 7:232-7.

Cross, C. (1992) Structuring Land Tenure in a New Society: The Property Rights Question in Rural African Land Systems. Durban: Rural-Urban Studies Unit, Centre for Social and Development Studies, University of Natal.

Cross, C. (1997) Confusion over land rights destabilises South Africa. Business Day, 3 October 1997.

Crush, J. and Jeeves, A. (1993) Transitions in the South African countryside. Canadian Journal of African Studies, 27:351-60.

De Klerk, M. (1993) The financial crisis in South African agriculture and postapartheid agrarian transformation. Canadian Journal of African Studies, 27:361-79.

De Wet, C. (1994) Resettlement and land reform in South Africa. Review of African Political Economy, 21:359-73.

De Wet, C. (1997) Land reform in South Africa: A vehicle for justice and reconciliation, or a source of further inequality and conflict? Development Southern Africa, 14:355-62.

Duncan, A. (1997) Institutional opportunities and barriers to poverty-oriented reform in South Africa. Paper delivered to the Conference on Rural Reform in South Africa, Sussex University, 28 June 1997.

Du Toit, A. (1994) Farm workers and the agrarian question. Review of African Political Economy, 21:375-88.

Elder, G. (1990) The grey dawn of South African racial residential integration. GeoJournal,22:261-6.

Francis, E. and Williams, G. (1993) The land question. Canadian Journal of African Studies, 27:380-403.

Greenberg, S. (1997) Agrarian reform in perspective. Land Update, 60, July, 6-9.

Hanekom, D. (1997a). Reported in Business Day, 10 December.

Hanekom, D. (1997b) South Africa's strategy for land and Aagricultural reform. Paper delivered to the Conference of Rural Reform in South Africa, Sussex University, 28 June 1997.

Hart, G. (1989) On grey areas. South African Geographical Journal, 71:81-8.

Keenan, J. (1984) Agribusiness and the bantustans. In SARS (South African Research Service) (ed.) South African Review Two. Johannesburg: Raven Press, pp.318-26.

Kotze, H. and Basson, F. (1994) Land reform in South Africa: Elite attitudes and party policies. Development Southern Africa, 11: 183-97.

Lemon, A. (1976) Apartheid: A Geography of Separation. Farnborough: Saxon House.

Lemon, A. (1982) Migrant labor and 'frontier commuters': Reorganising South Africa's

black labor supply. In Smith, D.M. (ed.) Living Under Apartheid. London: George Allen and Unwin, pp. 64-89.

Lemon, A. (1987) Apartheid in Transition. Aldershot: Gower.

Lemon, A. (ed.) (1991) Homes Apart: South Africa's Segregated Cities. London: Paul Chapman and Cape Town: David Philip.

Lemon, A. (1994) Desegregation and privatisation in white South African schools. Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 12:200-21.

Lemon, A. (ed.) (1995) The Changing Geography of South Africa. Chichester: John Wiley.

Lemon, A. (1996a) The new political geography of the local state in South Africa. Malaysian Journal of Tropical Geography, 27:35-45.

Lemon, A. (1996b) Post-apartheid cities: Planning for a new society. In Davies, R.J. (ed.) Contemporary City Structuring. Cape Town: IGU Commission on Urban Development and the Society for South African Geographers, pp. 62-73.

Lemon, A. (1999) Urbanization strategy in the new South Africa: The role of secondary cities and small towns. In de Wet, C. and Fox, R. (eds.) Settlement and Resettlement in Southern Africa. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Levin, R. and Weiner, D. (1993) The agrarian question and politics in the 'new' South Africa. Review of African Political Economy, 57:29-45.

Maasdorp, G.(ed.) (1990) Regional policy in South Africa. South African Journal of Economics, 58(2), special issue.

Mabin, A. (1989) Struggle for the city: Urbanisation and political strategies of the South African state. Social Dynamics, 15: 1-28.

Maylam, P. (1990) The rise and decline of urban apartheid in South Africa. African Affairs, 89(354):57-84.

McIntosh, A. and Vaughan, A. (1995) State-centred smallholder development: Haves and have-nots in KaNgwane. Development Southern Africa, 12: 113-26.

Mini, S. (1995) Peasant land-use problems and implications for land distribution in the Eastern Cape. Development Southern Africa, 12:613-9.

Murray, C. and Williams G. (1994) Land and freedom in South Africa. Review of African political Economy, 21 :315-24.

Nthai, S. (ed.) (1995) Local Government: Focus on Rural Local Government. Milpark, Johannesburg: The Bookworks.

Nattrass, J. (1981) The South African Economy: Its Growth and Change. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.

Pickles, J. (1991) Industrial restructuring and peripheral industrialization, and rural development in South Africa. Antipode, 23 :68-91.

Pirie, G. (1991) Kimberley. In Lemon, A. (ed.) Homes Apart: South Africa's Segregated Cities. London: Paul Chapman, and Cape Town: David Philip, pp. 120-28.

Platzky, L. and Walker, C. (1985) The Surplus People: Forced Removals in South Africa. Johannesburg: Raven Press.

Rhoodie, N. J. (1973) The colored policy of South Africa: Parallelism as a sociopolitical device to regulate white-colored integration. African Affairs, 72(286):46-56.

Rule, S.P. (1988) Racial residential integration in Bertrams, Johannesburg. South African Geographical Journal, 70:69-72.

Rule, S.P. (1989) The emergence of racially mixed areas in Johannesburg: Demise of the apartheid city? Geographical Journal, 155: 196-203.

Saff, G. (1990) The probable effects of the introduction of Free Settlement Areas in Johannesburg. Urban Forum, 1:5-27.

Saff, G. (1991) From race to space: Reconceptualising post-apartheid spatial environment. Urban Forum, 2:59-90.

SAIRR (1997a) South Africa Survey 1996/1997. Johannesburg: South African Institute of Race Relations.

SAIRR (1997b) Fast Facts 12 (December). Johannesburg: South African Institute of Race Relations.

Simon, D. (1984) Third world colonial cities in context: Conceptual and theoretical issues with particular respect to Africa. Progress in Human Geography, 8:493-524.

Simon, D. (1989) Crisis and change in South Africa: Implications for the apartheid city. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 14: 189-206.

Smith, D.M. (1982) Introduction. In Smith, D.M. (ed.) Living under Apartheid. London: George Allen and Unwin, pp. 1-9.

Smith, D.M. (1994) Geography and Social Justice. Oxford: Blackwell. South Africa (1970) Second report of the Commission of Enquiry into agriculture. RP 84/1970, Pretoria.

Smith, D.M. (1995) Urban Development Strategy of the Government of National Unity. Ministry in the Office of the President, October.

Smith, D.M. (1996) Green Paper on South African Land Policy. Department of Land Affairs, February.

Southall, R. (1994) The South African elections of 1994: The remaking of a dominant party state. Journal of Modern African Studies, 32:629-55.

Wellings, P. and Black, P. (1986) Industrial decentralisation under apartheid: The relocation of industry to the South African periphery. World Development, 14:1-38.

Western, J. (1981) Outcast Cape Town. London: Allen and Unwin.

Williams, G. (1996) Setting the agenda: A critique of the World Bank's rural restructuring programme for South Africa. Journal of Southern African Studies, 22:139-66.

Wills, T. M. (1991) Pietermaritzburg. In Lemon, A. (ed.) Homes Apart: South Africa's Segregated Cities. London: Paul Chapman and Cape Town: David Philip, pp.90-103.

World Bank (1993) Options for Land Reform and Rural Restructuring. Johannesburg: Land and Agricultural Policy Centre.