It has been 25 years since segregation laws were repealed in South Africa‚ yet some of the country’s major cities still remain deeply racially segregated.
Nelson Mandela Bay – which includes Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage – is the most segregated of the six largest municipalities‚ followed by eThekwini‚ Cape Town and Ekurhuleni and Tshwane.
How we live together – and apart – is illustrated in a series of revealing maps‚ produced by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA)‚ that lay bare patterns of racial neighbourhood integration and segregation in the country’s largest cities.
“Municipalities have become more racially integrated…However‚ the legacy of apartheid still has a hold on the social structure of South African urban space‚” said StatsSA.
Johannesburg is the least racially segregated city.
“Mapping census data down to a neighbourhood level provides fascinating insights into a city’s social structure‚ as well as deeper understanding of what’s going on behind its segregation index‚” said StatsSA.
The maps were produced using data from Census 2011‚ which is the latest dataset providing demographic data down to street-block level for the entire country.
Several general characteristics which occur in nearly all of the maps‚ identified by StatsSA‚ include:
– The central business districts (CBDs) have a high percentage of black African residents;
– The CBDs are surrounded by suburbs that have a high percentage of white residents;
– High-density townships – dominated by black African‚ coloured or Indian/Asian residents – are disconnected from the CBDs; and
– Racial mixing seems to be occurring mostly in previously white-dominated neighbourhoods;
“Even though South Africa’s largest cities have become more integrated since segregation laws were repealed in 1991… we still have a long way to go.
“If you live in one of the six cities‚ take a close look at your city’s map …. Can you pinpoint where you live? Do you recognise the areas where racial integration is occurring‚ where the different coloured dots are mixing‚” asked StatsSA.
Looking beyond the major cities‚ and examining data from all of the country’s 234 local municipalities‚ revealed Overstrand municipality in the Western Cape to be the most racially segregated.