“We Are Too Old to Move, Where Are We to Go?”: Forced Removals in Alexandra

  • Dawne Y. Curry


In 1971,65-year-old shoemaker and barber Jackson Banyeni received a notice to vacate his property from Alexandra’s governing and policing authority, Peri-Urban Areas Health Board (Peri-Urban). Peri-Urban gained control in 1958, when it replaced the Health Committee1 that had managed the township’s affairs since 1916. Charged with the responsibility of ending gang rule,2 and conducting pass3 raids, Peri-Urban consisted of African and White police officers who enforced law and order throughout the township.4 Peri-Urban was also empowered with banishment orders, which longtime activists Reverend A. A. Tanci and Azikwelwa (We Will Not Ride!) bus boycott leader Dan Mokonyane received in 1960.


Property Owner South African Government Family Accommodation Affected Party Corrugate Iron 
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    John Nauright, “An Experiment in Native Self-Government: The Alexandra Health Committee, the State and Local Politics,” South African Historical Journal, 43 (2001): 225. The Health Committee consisted of Herbert Papenfus, Christian Frederick Wienand (The Alexandra Township Company), Ernest Powys Adams (Department of Native Affairs), Jesse Mahabuke Makhothe (Africans), and Canral Cacelhaus (Coloured). Papenfus served as the chair and business owner Lulius Campbell served as secretary. While the Health Committee lacked the statutory and financial power to make concrete changes, such as creating a public transit corporation, the body did carry out specific functions. Dawne Y. Curry, “Community, Culture and Resistance in Alexandria, South Africa 1912–1985,” Phd dissertation, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, 2006, 30. Health Committee officials established building regulations, provided sewage removal, purchased land for burial, issued passes, and created a system of taxation. Health Committee officials imposed taxes on dog licenses, property holdings, business certificates, water, bicycles, ambulances, and sanitation removal. In 1934, taxes generated approximately £13,000 from which the body earned £500 from the two shillings it had charged for sanitation. With that money the Health Committee enclosed the cemetery, planted trees, and purchased a cart along with 20 oxen.Google Scholar
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    Luli Callinicos, A Place in the City: The Rand on the Eve of Apartheid (Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1983), 40–44.Google Scholar
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© Dawne Y. Curry 2012

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  • Dawne Y. Curry

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