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

  • Dawne Y. Curry
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Abstract

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.

Keywords

Property Owner South African Government Family Accommodation Affected Party Corrugate Iron 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    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
  2. 14.
    Luli Callinicos, A Place in the City: The Rand on the Eve of Apartheid (Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1983), 40–44.Google Scholar
  3. 15.
    Mateu Nonyane, “I Won’t Go Said 42-yr Resident,” Rand Daily Mail, September 18, 1975.Google Scholar
  4. 16.
    Mateu Nonyane, “Alex Barber Shorn of R30 for Staying,” Rand Daily Mail, extra, October 3, 1971.Google Scholar
  5. 17.
    Philip Bonner and Noor Nieftagodien, AleXandra: A History, 195. Mateu Nonyane, “Lonely Christmas for Jailed Barber’s Wife,” Rand Daily Mail, December 10, 1975. His wife mentioned in an interview when she faced an uncertain future without him the following, “It’s a pity there was no fine. I would not hesitate to release him. I have done that before.”Google Scholar
  6. 18.
    Mateu Nonyane, “Jail for Man Who Will Not Quit His Site,” Rand Daily Mail, December 6, 1975.Google Scholar
  7. 30.
    Fleur De Villiers, “‘Half-Value’ Property Scandal,” Sunday Times, May 4, 1975.Google Scholar
  8. 31.
    Mohammed Asif, “Why Displaced Person Reject Project Resettlement Colonies,” Economic and Political Weekly, 35, 24 (June 10, 2000): 2005.Google Scholar
  9. 32.
    Terri L. Orbuch, “People’s Accounts Count: The Sociology of Accounts,” Annual Review of Sociology, 23 (1997): 455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 33.
    Barbara H. Fiese, Karen A. Hooker, Lisa Kotary, Janet Schwagler, and Meredith Rimmer, “Family Stories in the Early Stages of Parenthood,” Journal of Marriage and Family 57, 3 (August 1995): 763–764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 35.
    Mateu Nonyane, “9 held in Alex Land grab row,” Rand Daily Mail, September 14, 1973.Google Scholar
  12. 49.
    Mateu Nonyane, “Board Move to Evict Last Alex Landowners,” Rand Daily Mail November 11, 1975.Google Scholar
  13. 51.
    Nicholas Blomley, “Law, Property, and the Geography of Violence: The Frontier, the Survey and the Grid,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 93, 1 (March 2003): 122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 54.
    Mateu Nonyane, “Board to Evict Last Alex Landowners,” Rand Daily Mail, November 11, 1975.Google Scholar
  15. 57.
    See Roger Omond, The Apartheid Handbook (London: Penguin Books, 1985).Google Scholar
  16. 58.
    Staff Reporter, “Families Split as Slums are Wrecked,” Rand Daily Mail, January 10, 1975.Google Scholar
  17. 61.
    Municipal Reporter, “Africans ‘may be told to Go Home for Sex,’” Rand Daily Mail, April 22, 1974.Google Scholar
  18. 66.
    Mateu Nonyane, “New House, No Home for Mrs. Banyini,” Rand Daily Mail T. E., December 12, 1975.Google Scholar
  19. 69.
    Mateu Nonyane, “Untitled,” Rand Daily Mail Times Extra, December 12, 1975.Google Scholar
  20. 70.
    Mateu Nonyane, “New House, No Home for Mrs. Banyini,” Rand Daily Mail Times Extra, December 13, 1975.Google Scholar

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© Dawne Y. Curry 2012

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