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The British Era
(page 8)
End of the British Era
As the twentieth century broke, Cape Town was a confident Imperial Capital. The impressive colonial City Hall and Herbert Baker's Gothic Anglican Cathedral were completed in the first years of the century.

Stevens, a British journalist, described it as 'Denver with a dash of Delhi… neither over-industrious nor over-lazy, decently successful, reasonably happy, wholeheartedly easy-going'.

Leisure was an important feature of city-life. 'Rational pastimes' were promoted, particularly to boost tourism - the pier, bathing, concerts, theatre and cinema. Muizenberg was promoted as the 'Brighton of South Africa' and became a popular bathing spot. Green Point common was developed for sports clubs and swimming baths were built.

Beneath this confident appearance, however, there were racial tensions as non-whites expressed resentment at the attitudes and racial policies of the municipality (more..)

The white community, too, was seeking a new era. A spirit of magnanimity had developed following the defeat of the Boers in 1902. English speakers were looking forward to a new era in a united South Africa (more..)

The National Convention of 1909, to forge peace between British and Afrikaners, established the boundaries of the modern unified South Africa. Cape Town was to be the legislative capital, but the Executive would be based in Pretoria.

The agreement promised peace and reconciliation between English and Afrikaners and self-government within the Empire, but it failed to take account of black aspirations and this was to overshadow the twentieth century.
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Heritage Sections
· Culture ·
· Environment ·
History · Society
Personalities · Areas

In this period of Cape History:



Reform Movement

Afrikaner Reaction

A City Develops

Imperial Capital

The Rise of Prejudice

Boom Years

The End of British Rule


Bibliography & Contacts


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