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International Handbook of Urban Systems

Studies of Urbanization and Migration in Advanced and Developing Countries

Edited by H. S. Geyer

This authoritative Handbook provides a comprehensive account of migration and economic development throughout the world, in both developed and developing countries. Some of the world’s most experienced researchers in this field look at how population redistribution patterns have impacted on urban development in a wide selection of advanced and developing countries in all the major regions of the world over the past half century.
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Chapter 21: Current perspectives on urban change in South Africa

H.S Geyer and I.J van der Merwe


1 H. S. Geyer and I. J. van der Merwe THE EARLY HISTORY OF URBAN SETTLEMENT Several waves of urban development mark the history of human settlement in South Africa. For centuries different Black tribes moved out of the southcentral territories of Afiica to the southern part of Africa. Records of the presence of Black people in the south-eastern parts of what is presently known as South Africa, date back to the sixteenth century (van Warmelo, 1946). Although some traces of the remains of single black villages have been found in different parts of the South African area, large concentrations of Blacks lived in the mountain region of the Transkei, the sub-tropical areas below the eastern escarpment along the east coast, as well as the north-central highlands of the territory (Malan and Hattingh, 1975). Traditional black rural settlements were occupied on a communal basis by people who entirely depended on subsistence farming for their existence. In the middle of the seventeenth century, the Dutch, who traded with India, started settling in the south-western tip of South Africa where the first White colony in southern Africa was formed. Soon afterwards white farmers started spreading along the southern coastal areas until they ran into large permanent Black rural settlements in the East London area, around 1770. As Recognition is hereby given to the National Research Foundation of South Africa for its financial assistance in this study. The usual disclaimer applies to this chapter. The authors also want to thank Laetitia Oosthuizen and...

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