This is a fascinating study by 16 geographers seeking to show what a long shadow the history of the apartheid city will cast over South Africa's future search for social stability and economic justice. Four phases in the development of residential and commercial segregation are posited: the colonial city (to World War I), the segregated city (1920s-1940s), the apartheid and neo-apartheid cities (1950s to mid-1970s, and post-1977). The histories of ten South African cities are then traced in detail with an emphasis on the impact of national policy on the particular local variations of human ecology. Similar profiles of two non-South but formerly segregated African cities (Windhoek and Harare) are added to offer glimpses over the postapartheid horizon. There is much here that will enlighten the aid administrator or regional planner in South Africa, as well as the social or political analyst too busy to delve unassisted into the minutiae of historical studies of demography, transport, housing, health and apartheid's callous administrative "visions" over the last half century, all of which are adroitly packaged for the general reader.
Get the latest book reviews delivered to your inbox.