Dislocation and Disrupted Livelihoods: Removals, Evictions and Banishments

in Survival in the 'Dumping Grounds'
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The state’s coercive regime of relocation imposed widespread hardship and trauma. People refused to comply where they could, and many angrily rejected the premise of ethnic ‘self-government’ that the regime employed to legitimate its grossly unjust practices. Yet, faced with the threat of police violence, few were able to refuse the repressive regime of bantustan relocation. Nevertheless, those who moved to Sada and Ilinge exercised their agency and negotiated relocation even in circumstances where there was very little room for manoeuvre. Their circumstances were diverse and they attached a range of different meanings to their experiences. This chapter explores the impacts and the meanings of farm evictions, urban removals, and the banishment of political prisoners to Sada and Ilinge. For those removed from settled lives in urban areas, forced removal involved great losses. For others in more precarious circumstances – new migrants to town and farm dwellers facing constant eviction – moving to a resettlement township brought some limited gains, particularly in terms of finding more secure tenure. The ordeals of banished political prisoners and their families have been often elided in the academic literature, yet their experiences demonstrate how political repression was woven into the project of bantustan relocation.

Survival in the 'Dumping Grounds'

A Social History of Apartheid Relocation

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