A Culture Clash at its Worst
South Africa's history is marked by social turmoil and racial injustice. Harboring tremendous diversity, South Africa fought, and still fights, towards the creation of a single nation of unity and common purpose. The tribal culture predominant in the early 1900s began slipping
away as industrialization swept through the country and power shifted into the hands of whites. The black population's tribal lifestyle was slipping away with the times, yet they were not accepted in the cities and rather were plunged into a state of limbo. The whites feared the power that the predominant black population would gain if they were to become skilled and adopt western culture, and they therefore instilled restrictive laws as a defense. This increased repression was accompanied by increased resistance, and the racial divisiveness gained strength.
From 1920 to the 1970s, South Africa reeled, not under racism per se, but under the battle between the emerging western and decaying tribal cultures brought on by the lure of industrial cities and the white's fear of a loss of power.
The urbanization and industrialization of the 1930s exposed blacks to a western economy and way of life, thus contributing to the decay of tribal culture. "Mass migration occurred as both black and white South Africans moved from rural areas to urban settings" which bared job
opportunities and industry (Worter 57). Grand cities, such as Johannesburg, emerged from what used to be rural mining grounds. Large groups of Africans and Europeans came together in the confined urban spaces of the mine, the factory, the shop, and the home, and in response to these
proximity problems housing crises and tension emerged. The large-scale housing crisis that broke out caused blacks to be pushed into confined areas of the cities known as squatter's camps and Shantytowns (Meyer 27). In these inadequate homes people suffered from poverty, malnutrition,
and lack of appropriate shelter from the rain and cold (Meyer 27). The blacks in this environment, rich with western economy and culture, began to loose touch with the already passing tribal lifestyle. The government attempted- quite unsuccessfully- to reverse the black migration to cities through increased restrictions and repression. The Group Areas Act, established in 1950, formed residential and business sections in urban areas for each race and the
Industrial Conciliation Act allowed the government to reserve skilled jobs for whites only (About). Influx control laws were also implemented allowing no black without residential qualifications to remain in an urban area for more than seventy-two hours (Hirsch). Despite all
the government's efforts, they failed in keeping the blacks out of the cities because the incoming western culture overpowered the traditional culture allowing the blacks to...