www.capetown.at Roddy Bray's Guide to Cape Town  
Click for Home Page
Click for Cape Town City Guide

Click for Heritage
SA Flag - Click for MP3 downloads
Audio Guides
Click for Directory of Cape Town Weblinks
Penguin at Boulders - click for Photos
Click for Storyletters

The Early Twentieth Century
(page 5)
During the first half of the twentieth century Cape Town lost its place as the pre-eminent city of Southern Africa. With the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, government and political power shifted to the Transvaal.

Although the population continued to grow rapidly and the city became industrialised, it fell behind the booming economy of Johannesburg. Nevertheless it found its place in South Africa as a cultural centre - expressing South Africa's heritage in terms of European settlement and the British Empire.

The racial prejudices and attitudes that had developed toward the end of the British era were reinforced and extended by the policies of the Afrikaans-dominated government in Pretoria. Increasingly, whites benefited from discriminatory policies while others were impoverished by the Depression. The city became increasingly divided along racial lines.

The older suburbs still contained a mixture of coloured and whites, and areas like District 6 remained mixed. But new townships, like Langa, were designed specifically for blacks, with an emphasis upon state control. Laws restricted the migration of blacks to the city.

Nevertheless, in 1948 four-fifths of Africans still lived outside locations (townships). Many lived in shanty towns, some of which also had coloured populations. Older areas like District Six, that were mostly coloured, also contained a mixture of Indians, some whites and blacks.

Some workplaces became segregated and, increasingly, education and employment policies ensured that racial divisions characterised the workplace. Some public and leisure institutions were segregated including swimming pools, hospitals and law courts and some cinemas, hotels, cafes and the main beaches. But still, there was no uniform policy of segregation or formal racial categorisation.

In 1948, however, a government was elected committed to a policy of apartheid, a policy of universal segregation, that would ruthlessly categorise and divide the population.

Go to the Bibliography >>>>>>

Go to the next history section >>>>>>

© www.capetown.at 2008. You may print this article for personal use; if for reproduction please acknowledge 'www.www.capetown.at.co.za'. You may not use this material for any electronic media except with written permission. www.capetown.at accepts no responsibility for inaccuracies or the work of service providers.


Heritage Sections
· Culture ·
· Environment ·
History · Society
Personalities · Areas

In this period of Cape History:



Mother City


Growth and Control


Bibliography & Contacts


Return to top