How Ndifuna Ukwazi was born.
Five decades ago on 11 September 1966, the South African National Party government declared District Six a “whites only” area in under an apartheid law – the Group Areas Act. Over the next two decades, 70 000 people were forcibly and violently removed from District Six to ghettos, like Mitchells Plain, Manenberg and Hanover Park, designed and built by the apartheid regime. Throughout Cape Town there were forty-two areas of forced removal.
During apartheid, black (coloured) African migrant workers in Cape Town were also excluded from housing opportunities near the city, and were confined to townships and hostels on the urban periphery. The unchallenged historic legacy of the colonial/apartheid era has normalised racialised urban planning and led to an increase in spatial segregation under the post-apartheid governments in Cape Town.
Since 1994, the value of well-located land and property has increased exponentially in Cape Town. However, despite progressive legislation and policy requiring redress and inclusion, governments (national, provincial and local) have followed a de fact policy of asset stripping to build government housing on the periphery as opposed to in the city centre. This spatial segregation, exclusion and discrimination has undeniably a direct impact on interrelated rights i.e, healthcare, education and employment. The lack of appropriate government intervention means that Cape Town remains one of the most segregated cities in the world with coloured and Black people living in the townships of Langa, Nyanga, Guguletu and Khayelitsha, Hanover Park and Mitchells Plain excluding them from access to opportunities, good public services as well as any form of safety.
Addressing Cape Town’s spatial inequality can only be achieved by protecting and expanding access to well-located affordable housing through public and private developments. This will require that the City and Province meet their obligations to stop selling public land and build or subsidise affordable well located housing within the centre of Cape Town, and this is what NU, as an organisation are fighting and campaigning for on a daily basis.