| The British
|A City Develops
| After the end of slavery a new,
more complex society began to take shape in Cape Town.
Although the ruling class was white, so too were many of the
working class. State-aided schemes brought poverty-stricken settlers from the
UK, who tried to establish themselves in the Cape. A third of all servants in
1865 were white.
The British introduced the term 'coloured' for non-Europeans,
and 'Malays' to refer specifically to
Cape Muslims. Records show roughly equal numbers of coloured and whites in most
occupations, including the skilled professions. Mixed marriages also continued.
Some areas of the city were distinctly 'coloured' but for the most part working
class whites and coloureds lived in the same areas and pursued the same
Many Afrikaners claimed compensation payable to slave owners.
With this capital they invested in property and turned from slave-owners to
slum landlords. In the absence of building restrictions (introduced 1861)
houses were built without water or sewerage disposal, separated by narrow
alleyways. Areas of lower Cape Town and District 6 developed in this way, with
certain 'slum lords', such as J Wicht, owning hundreds of such cramped
dwellings, renting out rooms to poor families.
The cruel poverty of these areas helped to maintain the
popularity of the taverns that had developed under the VOC. Wine and whisky, in
particular, were available cheaply.
Temperance societies and later the Salvation Army and the YMCA
tried to counter the rowdy alcoholism that was a feature of city life.
The end of slavery, therefore, created a society that was much
more obviously stratified, with a distinct contrast between the bourgeoisie
middle class with their regency townhouses, pianos and carriages and the
extrovert, piece-work class of artisans, many of whom lived in terrible slums.
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· Culture ·
In this period of Cape History:
A City Develops
The Rise of
The End of British Rule