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New South Africa
(page 6)
Continuity and Change
Cape Town did not experience dramatic change after the end of apartheid. Government policy ensured that schools and hospitals in 'white' areas mixed rapidly. But fear of a fall in 'standards' ensured a growth in private alternatives that remained 'white and wealthy'. Differentials of wealth thus maintained the old patterns. Only gradually did change became apparent.

Some poorer whites moved into traditional 'coloured' areas such as Ottery and Rondebosch East. Coloureds moved into suburbs from which their parents had been displaced - Kenilworth, Mowbray, Sea Point, Wynberg, Woodstock. Some blacks moved into 'white' areas such as Thornton. Rondebosch, where there is a high concentration of students, mixed rapidly, as did the crowds of shoppers in areas like Claremont.

In the 1990s crime escalated in the city centre and suburbs, as it did all over the country. Private security firms boomed and 'Business Against Crime' worked with Council and the police to monitor the city centre. Their efforts maintained the prosperity of the city centre, in contrast to cities like Johannesburg. By the end of the decade security in the city had greatly improved and confidence gradually returned.

On the outskirts of Cape Town, Khayelitsha and other townships grew very rapidly. The end of apartheid influx controls encouraged many Xhosa to migrate from the poor Eastern Cape to the relative prosperity of Cape Town. The city's population increased to more than three million people. In 1996 50% were described as 'coloured', 27% 'white' and 23% 'black', representing a vast increase in the proportion of black people.

A 1992 survey described only 31% of Capetonians as 'adequately housed'. In such cramped and squalid living conditions, respiratory diseases were rife and Cape Town had the highest rate of tuberculosis in the world during the 1990s.

The unprecedented growth demanded a rapid expansion of the City's provision of clean water, drainage, refuse disposal, electricity, schools, clinics, housing and other services. In the early nineties this was complicated by political tension. It is a credit to the city that by the end of the decade areas such as Khayelitsha were visibly transforming from shanty towns to suburbs. Nevertheless, unemployment and poverty remained extremely high.

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In this period of Cape History:


Mandela's Release




New Government

& Change



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