| The British
|The Rise of Prejudice
| With the development of
self-government the liberal influence began to diminish. Political power had
shifted to the local population, which was mostly conservative and Afrikaans.
The Cape government was dominated by the 'Afrikaner Bond', a group of
influential Afrikaner leaders focused upon promoting Afrikaner
British influence was also changing. Throughout the Empire,
liberal confidence was giving way to jingoism as economic rivalry developed
with Germany and the United States. Furthermore, the 'scramble for Africa' had
begun: European rivalry expressed in colonial conquest. To justify this race
for African territory, a popular version of Darwinism was giving rise to
bigoted ideas of racial superiority. Such ideas fuelled a new mood of
negativity in Cape Town toward non-Europeans.
Some newspapers, like the Cape Argus, continued to appeal to public sympathy
for the poor, attacking the role of slum lords like Wicht. But others, like the
Cape Times, wrote damning accounts of the 'moral pollution' of poor
neighbourhoods, laying the responsibility for the conditions at the door of the
Increasingly, such views carried racial overtones. The Malay
were no longer characterised as 'quiet' but 'rebellious, lazy, ignorant'.
Blacks too, were labelled as 'indecent' and 'immoral'. The 'Lantern' carried an
exposé in 1881 of the 'profanity, drunkenness and immorality' of blacks
living in a slum in Woodstock.
There were increasing calls for 'order' and 'control' to be
exerted over these unruly, diseased and violent people, as they were
The battle between liberal sentiment and conservatism was fought out among
politicians in the municipal and Cape governments. Liberals tended toward
greater action, and thus expenditure to alleviate social problems, but were
countered by the financial interests of rate payers.
Factions earned names like 'the dirty party' and the 'clean
party'. It was only in the 1890s that adequate water, drainage and sewerage
were introduced, under considerable pressure from the colonial health
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· Culture ·
In this period of Cape History:
A City Develops
The Rise of
The End of British Rule