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Segregation, desegregation, and re-segregation and the return to Black Townships : a case study of Chesterville Township, Durban.

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Residential segregation and desegregation continues to be a major theme in South African scholarship. However the study of re-segregation, characterised by people returning to legacy apartheid townships after having moved to desegregated suburbs has not received much attention. This study is a geographical investigation of the key influences that have contributed to the process of residential re-segregation, with specific reference to the township of Chesterville in Durban. More specifically, the objectives of this thesis were to: determine why people moved out of Chesterville; ascertain the challenges experienced in adjusting to their new environments; investigate the key factors that led to people moving back to Chesterville; analyse how people were received upon returning to Chesterville; and assess if people would consider moving away from Chesterville again should the opportunity arise. This study was theoretically and conceptually influenced by human agency, gemeinscharft and gesellscharft, Ubuntu, culture shock, drawing from the philosophy of humanistic geography. Methodologically, a qualitative approach was adopted in this investigation. In-depth semi-structured interviews and focus groups were utilized to collect the primary data. Purposive and snowball sampling methods were employed to select the participants. The study revealed that people decide to move out of the township in pursuit of safety and security, personal privacy and status. The various challenges experienced in the new areas included social isolation, failure to socially integrate in the new communities, and culture shock. People maintained strong ties with Chesterville through frequent visits to carry out activities such as religious worship and socializing. Financial problems, nostalgia and child rearing challenges were the main issues that were presented as a trigger for the return to the township. The reception encountered by people upon returning to Chesterville ranged from disappointment, judgemental, condemnation, while others were welcomed pleasantly. There were mixed responses to feelings about the prospect of moving out of Chesterville again. There is a clear sign of the post-apartheid government’s failure to eradicate the socio-spatial patterns of apartheid. The repeal of the Group Areas Act (GAA) has not been mirrored by aggressive attempts by the post-apartheid government to create new urban spaces of integration.


M. Sc. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2014.


Segregation -- South Africa -- KwaZulu-Natal., Race discrimination -- South Africa -- KwaZulu-Natal., Apartheid -- South Africa., Theses -- Geography.