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Historia

On-line version ISSN 2309-8392

Historia vol.53 n.2 Durban  2008

 

"A home makes one Motho" - the idea of "Humanness", "Home" and History in Lady Selborne's forced removals, circa 1905 to 1977

 

"'n Tuiste maak jou Motho" - die rol van die konsepte "Menswees", "Tuiste" en geskiedenis in Lady Selborne se gedwonge verwyderings, van ongeveer 1905 tot 1977

 

 

Maserole Christina Kgari-Masondo

Maserole Christina Kgari-Masondo of the University of Stellenbosch's article stems from her completed doctoral thesis. She extends her grateful thanks to her supervisor, Sandra Swart

 

 


ABSTRACT

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.

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


OPSOMMING

Hierdie artikel is 'n gevalle-studie uit die oogpunt van sosio-omgewingsgeskiedenis oor gedwonge verwyderings en die nagevolge daarvan tussen 1905 en 1977. Die fokusgebied is n township in Pretoria, Lady Selborne (tans bekend as Suiderberg), en Ga-Rankuwa, waar sommige van die verplaasde mense hervestig is. Die betrokke mense het nie net hulle historiese blyplekke, eiendomme en besittings verloor nie, maar ook hulle "tuiste", insluitend hulle selfbewussyn en hulle samehorigheidsgevoel. Die soeklig word dus op die wisselende persepsies van mense te midde van hulle eiendomsverlies gefokus - n benadering wat tot dusver afwesig in akademia was. In hierdie artikel word die komplekse gevolge wat die gedwonge verskuiwings vir die voormalige inwoners van Lady Selborne gehad het, bepaal. Lady Selborne was n "tuiste", n heenkome vir mense, waar die inwoners voedsel suksesvol geproduseer het en eiendomme in n veelrassige gebied kon besit. Swartes is verplaas vanuit 'n vrugbare gebied, geleë naby die stadskern van Pretoria met n mooi uitsig, en is hervestig in Ga-Rankuwa, n onvrugbare plek aan die buitewyke van die area. Daar word aangetoon dat opeenvolgende blanke regerings, asook talle navorsers probeer het om die omgewingsetiek van Afrika as onbelangrik en selfs as bygeloof af te maak. Gedwonge verskuiwings het gevolg en swartes het uiteindelik in Ga-Rankuwa apaties teenoor omgewingskwessies begin staan, asof hulle daardeur, in die onderbewussyn, apatie as wapen teen gedwonge hervestiging kon gebruik.

Sleutelwoorde: Afrosentriese geskiedenis; bewaring; bruikbare verlede; Ga-Rankuwa; gedwonge verskuiwings; inheemse grondbesit; Lady Selborne; motho; omgewingsgeskiedenis; omgewingsreg; sosiale identiteit; tuiste


 

 

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1. Transvaal Archives (hereafter TA), Pretoria: GOV 828, PS17/65/05, Letter: W. Gilfillan (Surveyor General Department of Pretoria) - D.O. Malcolm (Private Secretary to Governor's Office, Johannesburg), 21 November 1905; Deeds Office, Pretoria: Farm register JR20 7027/06, J. Booysen to C.M. de Vries.
2. J. Carruthers, "Urban land claims in South Africa: the case of Lady Selborne township, Pretoria, Gauteng", Kleio, 32, 2000, p 2;         [ Links ] Central Archives (hereafter CA), Pretoria: TES 4134, 19/269, Report of the Departmental Committee, 1949, p 12.
3. Interviews by author in Ga-Rankuwa: Mrs Isabel Mvula (24 June 2004); Mrs Ruth Kgari (25 June 2004); Ms Julia Motshetsahane & Mr William Kgari (27 June 2004); Mrs Tshidi Tshweni, Mr Lolo Tshweni, Mrs Sekhu, Mr Maphalare, Mrs Violet Maphalare & Mr Andrew (28 June 2004); Mrs Elsie Mohlahledi, Mr Matlaila & Mrs Matlaila (29 June 2004); Mrs Madumo & Mrs Matilda Manamela (30 June 2004).
4. Interviews: Mrs Mvula, Mrs Kgari, Mr Kgari, Mrs Tshweni, Mr Tshweni, Mrs Sekhu, Mr Maphlare, Mrs Maphalare, Mr Andrew, Mrs Matlaila & Mrs Manamela.
5. F.C. Ross, "Making home in the new South Africa." Unpublished paper, 2003, p 2.
6. Ross, "Making home in the new South Africa", p 3.
7. Interviews: Ms Motshetshane & Mrs Tshweni.
8. N. Rapport and J. Overing, Social and Cultural Anthropology The Key Concepts (Routledge, London, 2000).         [ Links ]
9. Oxford Dictionary of Current English (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1984), p 350.
10. Oxford Dictionary, p 355.
11. E. Ngxabi, "Houses or Homes?" M Soc Sci dissertation, University of Cape Town, 2004.         [ Links ]
12. Personal discussions with informants in Ga-Rankuwa: Ms Motshetshane (27 June 2004) & Mrs Tshweni (28 June 2004).
13. Personal discussions with informants in Ga-Rankuwa: Mrs Kgari (25 June 2004) & Mr Kgari (27 June 2004).
14. Personal discussions with informants in Ga-Rankuwa: Mrs Kgari (25 June 2004) & Mrs Tshweni (26 June 2004).
15. Interviews: Mrs Kgari, Mr Maphalare, Mrs Maphalare, Mrs Mohlahledi, Mr Matlaila, Mrs Matlaila & Mrs Madumo. Loans for purchasing sites and erecting houses were available at R3 a month, payable for 40 years, according to M. Horrell, A Survey of Race Relations in South Africa (South African Institute of Race Relations, Johannesburg, 1961), p 164.
16. C. Yose, "From Shacks to Houses: Space Usage and Social Change in a Western Cape Shantytown.'' M Soc Sci dissertation, University of Cape Town, 1999.         [ Links ]
17. N. Jacobs, Environment Power and Injustice A South African History (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003), p 31.         [ Links ]
18. Interview: Mrs Madumo.
19. Interviews: Mrs Mvula, Mrs Kgari & Mrs Manamela. See also: Carruthers, "Urban land claims in South Africa", p 5.
20. G.M. Setiloane, African Theology An Introduction, (Skotaville, Johannesburg, 1985), pp 37-42;         [ Links ] interviews: Mrs Kgari & Ms Motshetshane.
21. Cited in Rapport & Overing, Social and Cultural Anthropology, p 158.
22. See: J.L. Cox, "Ancestors and God: Reflections on the Meaning of the Sacred in Zimbabwean Death Rituals", An International Journal of Religion, 25, 1, 1995, pp 345-346.         [ Links ]
23. Personal discussions with Doctor Welile Mazamisa, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies, University of Cape Town, November 2006.
24. Interview: Ms Motshetshane.
25. D. Chidester, Religions of South Africa (Routledge, London, 1992), p 5.         [ Links ]
26. J. & J. Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution Christianity, Colonialism, and Consciousness on the South African Frontier I (Chicago University Press, Chicago, 1997), p 275.
27. See: Chidester, Religions of South Africa, p 5; J. & J. Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution, p 275; Rapport & Overing, Social and Cultural Anthropology.
28. Interview: Mrs Tshweni.
29. Carruthers, "Urban land claims in South Africa", p 2; CA: TES 4134, 19/269, Report of the Departmental Committee, 1949, p 61.
30. Interviews: Ms Motshetshane, Mrs Tshweni, Mrs Sekhu & Mrs Manamela.
31. Interview: Mrs Sekhu.
32. Interviews: Mrs Mvula, Mrs Kgari, Ms Motshetsahane, Mr Kgari, Mrs Tshweni, Mr Tshweni, Mrs Sekhu, Mr Maphalare, Mrs Maphalare, Mr Andrew, Mrs Mohlahledi, Mr Matlaila, Mrs Matlaila, Mrs Madumo & Mrs Manamela.
33. Interview: Mrs Tshweni.
34. Interview: Mrs Tshweni.
35. Interview: Mr Maphalare.
36. See: Setiloane, African Theology, p 40; Interview: Mrs Maphalare.
37. Interviews: Mrs Mvula, Mrs Kgari, Ms Motshetsahane, Mr Kgari, Mrs Tshweni, Mr Tshweni, Mrs Sekhu, Mr Maphalare, Mrs Maphalare, Mr Andrew, Mrs Mohlahledi, Mr Matlaila, Mrs Matlaila, Mrs Madumo & Mrs Manamela.
38. Interview: Mrs Maphalare.
39. Interview: Mrs Mohlahledi.
40. Interview: Mr Matlaila.
41. Interview: Ms Motshetshane.
42. Interviews: Mrs Kgari, Mr Maphalare, Mrs Maphalare, Mrs Mohlahledi, Mr Matlaila & Mrs Matlaila.
43. Interviews: Mrs Mvula, Mrs Kgari, Mr Kgari, Mr Maphalare, Mrs Maphalare, Mrs Mohlahledi, Mr Matlaila, Mrs Matlaila & Mrs Madumo.
44. Gaston Bachelard, cited in: Rapport & Overing, Social and Cultural Anthropology, p 159.
45. Interview: Mrs Tshweni.
46. Interview: Mrs Manamela.
47. Setiloane, African Theology, p 13.
48. See J & J. Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution, p 158. They explain how the Sotho-Tswana went about establishing settlements by redrawing boundaries around the homesteads, fields and villages. This is termed go thaya motse, which also refers to how they protect such a settlement with herbs to avoid misfortune. If a homestead is thailwe, the Sotho-Tswana believe that home to have seriti and it has to be respected by humanity.
49. M. Douglas, An analysis of concepts of pollution and taboo (Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1976), p 3.         [ Links ]
50. Setiloane, African Theology, p 15.
51. J.& J. Comaroff, "On Personhood: an Anthropological Perspective from Africa", Social Identities, 7, 2, 2001, p 268.
52. Interviews: Mrs Mvula, Mrs Kgari, Mr Maphalare, Mrs Maphalare, Mrs Mohlahledi, Mr Matlaila & Mrs Matlaila.
53. Interviews: Ms Motshetshane, Mrs Tshweni & Mrs Mohlahledi.
54. J.K. Ngubane, Conflict of Minds Changing Power Dispositions in South Africa (Books in Focus, USA, 1979), p 81.         [ Links ]
55. Interview: Mrs Mvula. She argues that due to forced removals, they lost community spirit which resulted in individualism. This was also confirmed during interviews with Ms Motshetshane and Mrs Tshweni.
56. A. Shutte, Ubuntu an Ethic for a New South Africa (Cluster Publications, Pietermaritzburg, 2001), p 8.         [ Links ]
57. I term Lady Selborne their "home" as a community because they called themselves the Selborners - Personal discussion with an informant: Ms Motshetshane, in Ga-Rankuwa on 18 March 2006.
58. Interviews: Ms Motshetshane & Mrs Manamela.
59. Interviews: Ms Motshetshane & Mrs Manamela.
60. Interviews: Mrs Kgari, Mrs Mohlahledi, Mr Matlaila Mrs Matlaila & Mrs Madumo.
61. J. & J. Comaroff, "On Personhood", p 268.
62. Setiloane, African Theology, p 12.
63. Statutes of the Union of South Africa, 2, 48-73 p 1697.
64. CA: NTS 928/313, 25 September 1956; CA: NTS 928/313, 8 August 1956.
65. CA: NTS 928/313, 25 September 1956.
66. CA: NTS 928/313, 25 September 1956.
67. Interviews: Mrs Tshweni, Ms Motshetshane & Mrs Manamela.
68. Interviews: Ms Motshetshane, Mrs Tshweni, Mr Tshweni, Mr Maphalare, Mrs Maphalare, Mr Andrew, Mrs Mohlahledi & Mrs Manamela.
69. Interviews: Ms Motshetshane, Mrs Tshweni, Mrs Mohlahledi & Mrs Manamela.
70. Interview: Ms Motshetshane.
71. Interview: Mrs Mvula, Mrs Kgari & Mrs Tshweni.
72. Interviews: Mrs Mvula, Mrs Kgari, Ms Motshetshane, Mr Kgari, Mrs Tshweni, Mr Tshweni, Mrs Sekhu, Mr Maphalare, Mrs Maphalare, Mr Andrew, Mrs Matlaila, Mr Matlaila, Mrs Mohlahledi, Mrs Madumo & Mrs Manamela.
73. Interviews: Mrs Kgari & Ms Motshetshane.
74. Evidence stated in: CA: BAO 7818T60/2/1547, Memorandum drawn up by the Tswana Vigilance Committee Representing Tswana Interests, Opinions and Aspirations, which was presented to the Commissioner General, Tswana Territorial Authority, no date. The memorandum indicates that the Tswana in Ga-Rankuwa discriminated. They did not want other ethnic groups like the Zulu, Tsonga and Shangaan in their township, because they argued that the Government policy stipulated that the township was to be populated and ruled by the Tswana.
75. Interviews: Mrs Kgari, Mrs Mohlahledi, Mr Matlaila, Mrs Matlaila & Mrs Madumo.
76. Interview: Mrs Madumo.
77. Interviews: Mrs Kgari & Mr Matlaila.
78. Interview : Mrs Kgari.
79. Interview : Mrs Kgari.
80. Interview : Mr Matlaila.
81. Interview : Mrs Matlaila.
82. Interview : Mrs Madumo.
83. Interviews: Mrs Kgari, Mr Matlaila, Mrs Matlaila & Mrs Madumo.
84. Cited in: Rapport & Overing, Social and Cultural Anthropology, pp 158-159.
85. Interviews: Mrs Mvula & Mrs Tshweni.
86. Interviews: Mrs Mvula, Mrs Kgari, Mr Tshweni, Mr Matlaila, Mrs Matlaila & Mrs Madumo.
87. Interviews: Mrs Motshetshane & Mrs Tshweni.
88. J. & J. Comaroff, "On Personhood", p 271.
89. Interview: Mrs Manamela.
90. Interviews: Ms Motshetshane, Mrs Tshweni, Mr Tshweni, Mr Maphalare, Mr Andrew & Mrs Manamela.
91. F.D. Ellenberger, History of the Basuto Ancient and Modern (Negro Universities Press, New York, 1969), p xxi.
92. Ellenberger, History of the Basuto, p xxi.
93. Ngubane, Conflict of Minds, p 81.
94. Ngubane, Conflict of Minds, p 92.
95. Interview: Mrs Tshweni.
96. Interviews: Mrs Mvula, Mrs Kgari, Ms Motshetshane, Mrs Tshweni, Mr Tshweni, Mr Maphalare, Mr Andrew, Mr Matlaila, Mrs Matlaila & Mrs Manamela.
97. Interview: Mrs Sekhu.
98. L. Ngcongco, "Imvo Zabantu and Cape Native Policy 1884-1902." MA dissertation, University of South Africa, 1974, p 100.
99. E.M. Letsoalo, Land Reform in South Africa (Skotaville, Johannesburg, 1987), p 20.
100. Letsoalo, Land Reform in South Africa, p 20.
101. Letsoalo, Land Reform in South Africa, pp 19-20.
102. Letsoalo, Land Reform in South Africa, p 20.
103. Interview: Mrs Tshweni.
104. Interview: Mrs Tshweni.
105. Interview: Mrs Sekhu & Mrs Manamela.
106. D. Chidester, Religions of South Africa (Routledge, London & New York, 1992), p 5.         [ Links ]
107. G.M. Setiloane, "Land in the negotiations Chamber - An Afro-centric approach", Journal of Black Theology in South Africa, 5, 2, 1991, p 33.         [ Links ]
108. T.J. Keegan, Facing the Storm Portraits of Black Lives in Rural South Africa (David Philip, Cape Town & Johannesburg, 1988), p 147.         [ Links ]
109. A.P. Temgoua, "Human rights in Pre-colonial Africa: The case of the Bamileke district in the Western Cameroon." Unpublished paper, University of Witwatersrand History Workshop, 13-15 July 1994, p 6.         [ Links ]
110. Setiloane, African Theology, p 5.
111. E. Mphahlele, "Foreword", in Letsoalo, Land reform in South Africa.
112. Interviews: Ms Motshetshane & Mrs Tshweni.
113. F. Khan, "Contemporary South African Environmental Response: An Historical and Socio-Political Evaluations with particular Reference to Blacks." MA dissertation, University of Cape Town, 1990, p 15.         [ Links ]
114. Interviews: Ms Motshetshane, Mrs Tshweni, Mrs Sekhu & Mrs Manamela.
115. Shutte, Ubuntu, p 2.
116. Interview: Mrs Mvula.
117. Interview: Mr Mohlahledi.
118. Interview: Mr Tshweni.
119. Interview: Mr Kgari.
120. Shutte, Ubuntu, p 132.
121. Shutte, Ubuntu, p 132.
122. Interview: Mrs Mvula.
123. Interviews: Mrs Kgari & Mrs Sekhu.
124. Interviews: Mrs Mvula, Ms Motshetshane & Mr Andrew.
125. See: B. Ellis, "White settler impact on the environment of Durban 1845-1870", in S. Dovers (ed), South Africa's Environmental History Cases & Comparisons (Ohio University Press & David Philip, Athens & Cape Town, 2002).         [ Links ]
126. Ellis, "White settler impact on the environment of Durban 1845-1870", p 47.
127. Interview: Mr Andrew.
128. Interview: Mrs Mvula.
129. Interview: Mr Andrew.
130. Silverstone cited in: Rapport & Overing, Social and Cultural Anthropology, p 161.
131. Interviews: Mrs Kgari, Mrs Motshetshane, Mr Kgari, Mrs Tshweni, Mr Tshweni, Mrs Sekhu, Mr Maphlare, Mr Andrew, Mr Matlaila, Mrs Matlaila & Mr Manamela.
132. Interviews: Mrs Mvula & Mr Andrew.
133. Ngubane, Conflict of Minds, p 92.
134. Ngubane, Conflict of Minds, p 79.
135. Commonwealth Secretariat, Women and Natural Resource Management, (Marlborough House, London, 1996), p 8.         [ Links ]
136. Interviews: Mrs Mvula, Mrs Kgari & Ms Motshetshane.
137. Interview: Mr Andrew.
138. Interviews: Mrs Kgari, Ms Motshetshane, Mr Tshweni & Mr Andrew.
139. Interviews: Mrs Kgari, Mr Tshweni, Mrs Sekhu & Mrs Mohlahledi.
140. Interview: Mrs Thsweni.
141. Khan, Contemporary South African Environmental Response, p 18.
142. Interviews: Mrs Mvula & Mr Andrew.
143. Carruthers, "Urban land claims in South Africa", p 3.
144. Interviews: Mr Maphalare, Mrs Maphalare, Mrs Mohlahledi & Mrs Madumo.
145. Interviews: Ms Motshetshane, Mrs Tshweni, Mr Tshweni, Mr Maphalare, Mr Andrew & Mrs Manamela.
146. Interviews: Mrs Kgari, Mrs Mohlahledi, Mr Matlaila, Mrs Matlaila & Mrs Madumo.
147. Interviews: Mrs Kgari, Mrs Mohlahledi, Mr Matlaila, Mrs Matlaila & Mrs Madumo.
148. Interviews: Ms Motshetshane, Mr Maphalare, Mrs Maphalare, Mrs Madumo & Mrs Manamela.
149. Interviews: Mrs Mvula, Mrs Kgari, Ms Motshetshane, Mr Kgari, Mrs Tshweni, Mr Tshweni, Mrs Sekhu, Mr Maphalare, Mrs Maphalare, Mrs Mohlahledi, Mrs Madumo & Mrs Manamela.
150. Interviews: Mrs Mvula, Mrs Kgari, Ms Motshetshane, Mr Kgari, Mrs Tshweni, Mr Tshweni, Mrs Sekhu, Mr Maphalare, Mrs Maphalare, Mrs Mohlahledi, Mrs Madumo & Mrs Manamela.
151. Horrell, A Survey ofRace Relations in South Africa, p 164.
152. Shutte, Ubuntu, p 2.
153. F. Ross, "Model communities and Respectable residents? Home and housing in low-income residential estates in the Western Cape South Africa", Journal of Southern African Studies, 31, 3, 2005, p 648.         [ Links ]
154. E. Casalis, The Basutos, Twenty-Three Years in South Africa (Struik, Cape Town, 1965), p 156.         [ Links ]

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