Township recreation patterns and the new order in South Africa
A successful and sustainable recreation system is dependent on local people's awareness and participation levels, as well as on the government's capacity to provide facilities. Recreation in many African (black) communities in South Africa has been plagued by apartheid-related misfortunes. However, since the democratic changes starting in 1994, there has been a turn for the better. A conceptual understanding of community views is therefore important for the effective planning and development of recreation in South Africa. A study of the emerging recreation patterns of African residents in five townships in KwaZulu-Natal was conducted. Findings indicate that there was a tendency to favour participation in more pleasure and entertainment-related recreation pursuits as opposed to community-based and nature-based recreation activities. Township residents perceived issues of local empowerment and socio-economic benefit as far more important than environmental sustainability. In addition, while most barriers to the integration of formerly white-only recreation facilities in major towns have been eliminated, true social integration has yet to be achieved. The study concludes that local communities would benefit economically and environmentally from improved recreation delivery systems.
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