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On-line version ISSN 2309-8392
Print version ISSN 0018-229X


KGARI-MASONDO, Maserole Christina. "A home makes one Motho" - the idea of "Humanness", "Home" and History in Lady Selborne's forced removals, circa 1905 to 1977. Historia [online]. 2008, vol.53, n.2, pp.70-97. ISSN 2309-8392.

This article presents a case-study in forced removals and its ramifications from 1905 to 1977 from the perspective of socio-environmental history. The focus area is a township in Pretoria called Lady Selborne (currently known as Suiderberg) and Ga-Rankuwa, where some of the displaced were relocated. The article demonstrates that forced removals did not only result in people losing their historical land, properties and material possessions, but that they also lost their "home" and thus their sense of being and of connectedness. Hence the focus is on the changing perceptions of people in the midst of their land loss, which is the focus that is lacking in academia. The article depicts the complex picture of the ramifications of forced removals among the former inhabitants of Lady Selborne. The latter was a "home" - a place for being human, where the residents managed to engage in food production and were able to own properties in an area that was multiracial. In the case of Lady Selborne, Africans were displaced from a scenic area that was fertile, close to the city centre of Pretoria and relocated to Ga-Rankuwa, a place with infertile soil on the outskirts of Pretoria. The article illustrates that successive white governments and many scholars have tried to downplay African environmental ethics and to disregard them as "superstition". This resulted in forced removals and consequently in Africans ending up being apathetic to environmental issues in the resettlement area of Ga-Rankuwa. Environmental apathy emerged unconsciously as a weapon of opposition against removals.

Keywords : Afro-centric history; conservation; environmental history; environmental justice; forced removals; Ga-Rankuwa; home; indigenous land tenure; Lady Selborne; motho; social identity; usable past.

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