Miserable hovels and shanties on waterlogged wasteland : political-economy of peri-urban squatting around greater Cape Town, circa 1945-1960

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This thesis is an intended contribution to the store of historical knowledge on Cape Town. Its title 'Miserable Hovels and Shanties on Waterlogged Wasteland'; political economy of peri-urban squatting in Cape Town, 1945 - 1960, has been decided on the basis of the following facts: (iv) l(i) Very little has been written on this subject especially during the period I have chosen. As a result, a lacuna exists in our understanding of 20th century Cape Town. So this thesis is an effort whose significance and value is that it seeks to provide an account of peri-urban squatting within the framework of political economy. By so doing a wide variety of factors, essential enough to have coloured the epoch, are captured and weaved together. (ii) Most historical works have not adequately examined the economic issues which underpin the phenomenon of peri-urban squatting. They have focussed more, instead, on the political aspect, emphasising the unequal distribution of political power between races. Here in this thesis I have attempted to strike a balance between the two factors (political and economic factors), hence I adopted the concept of political economy. To highlight the economic aspect I have used statistical data, (which I do not claim is entirely accurate) to show the wage, levels between races and also expose the pervasive state of underemployment of most Black people, whilst at the same time showing the political aspect through an examination of government legislations.

Bibliography: pages 201-215.