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Title: Litany for the Black City Ghetto Reform Policy in South Africa, Brazil and the United States
Authors: Turkson, Nshira
Advisors: Massey, Doug
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: The new democratic South African state faces an intractable problem of 52 years of legislated racism, inherited from an equally racist colonial administration, quite literally inscribed into the country’s landscape. Racialized residential segregation was a centrality of the apartheid system. Through delineated native reserve lands, pass law systems and brutally militarized urban township areas; the state restricted space: access, entry and egress, to non-white populations, especially indigenous black South Africans, as a function of domination and control. The South African township is the urban exemplar of this racist spatiality. Its persistence reflects the gravity of the land crisis faced by the current South African government. Post-apartheid land reform policy is directly targeted at rural reform, to the detrimental exclusion of the townships. Instead township reform is deliberated as a function of the country’s degenerating urban policy program. Policy focuses on the amelioration of socioeconomic issues within the townships. The mitigation of the pathologies within the ghetto implicitly accepts the racialized space as part of the urban sphere. The political focus should center on the existence of the ghetto as a persistent pathology of the state. A ghetto with less crime, lower concentrations of poverty and unemployment remains a ghetto. It is still a site of black confinement and a physical reminder of the deplorable apartheid system. There is a significant paucity of discussion concerning the inclusion of the township within land reform policy. This dearth is endemic to the general discussion of land reform policy and state interaction. While rural lands are universally considered land reform’s key objective, ghetto reform is focused on internal socioeconomic issues. Similarly, South African land reform policy’s trajectory is aimed at land redistribution and tenure for the rural landless to correct for dispossession and displacement, disregarding the analogous history of township’s formation. The exclusion of townships from land reform confirms their permanence in the country and embeds these urban sites of racial segregation. This thesis explores this political omission and its consequences, through a theoretical framework and real world example to assert a significant recontextualizing of ghetto reform policy. It determines the dichotomous approach to land and ghetto reform policy is insufficient and ultimately harmful, especially within the South African context. The persistence of ghetto exclusion from land reform only embeds the racialized space into the urban fabric, buttressing the targeted socioeconomic issues ghetto reform aims to alleviate.
Extent: 127 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2016

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