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Residential desegregation in the Durban region : the case of Westville.

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For many years blacks have been restricted from occupying housing in the suburbs and inner parts of Durban. The Group Areas Act accommodated them in the rural and unserviced parts on the periphery of the city. Townships were later developed for them as far away from the city centre as possible. The scrapping of the Act in 1991 saw many of those people who could afford housing in the city and in the suburbs moving into houses and flats in predominantly white areas. The aim of this dissertation was to examine the process of residential desegregation in a former white suburb. The study was conducted in Westville. a middle- to upper-class residential area which is presently inhabited by both blacks and whites. The severe shortages of land and housing, accompanied by the continuing unrest in the townships and changes in the family size and needs. influenced the migration of blacks to Westville. This migration started as early as 1987 despite the legal. financial and racist impediments prior to the repeal of the Group Areas Act in 1991. Most of the black households in Westville bought their houses through the estate agents. Income was the main criterion to determine whether blacks qualified for the purchase of property. Most of the buyers who qualified for loans and could afford to pay for services in the suburbs were those with more than one income earner per family. The process of residential desegregation was enhanced by the positive attitudes of the households towards their neighbourhood. The positive demographic and biracial social interaction among all residents also played an important role in the integration process. Problems were experienced when some whites showed signs of prejudice which emanated from the clash of cultures. such as blacks slaughtering cattle and Muslims sacrificing animals. Although the abolition of the Group Areas Act in 1991 was not wholeheartedly accepted by all whites. they were gradually accepting the right or blacks to choose any residential neighbourhood in which they wished to live.


Thesis(M.A.)-University of Durban-Westville, 1996.


Segregation., Theses--Geography.