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Township transformation timeline

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01 June 2009

Francois Menguele, Geci Karuri-Sebina, Marietjie Kruger, Nellie Lester


Township Studies Librarian Two


Township Studies Group

South Africa

At the time of this study, some forty percent of households in South Africa (4,6 million people) were living in townships. Overall, half of all metropolitan households were living in townships (i.e. 2,7 million people). Since South Africa’s democratic elections of 1994, conditions in urban townships had not substantially improved. Incomes of households in townships had in real terms remained static. Moreover more households in townships lived in informal settlements and lacked full access to municipal services than in 1996. The research raised the point that for government it was critical to focus attention on integrating and addressing the needs of these households within South Africa’s towns and cities. To do this, it was seen as essential to position townships centrally in urban policy debates and priority-setting processes.

The Township Transformation Timeline provided an overview of the history of the evolution of Townships since 1900 and the lessons that could be learnt for the future. The Timeline set out to provide a better understanding of townships and how they could be transformed and integrated into South Africa’s urban areas.


Website References

Built environment

Good governance

Human settlements

Integrated regional development


Poverty & inequality

Quality of life

Service delivery

South Africa


Township Studies Group



Urban development

Urban economics

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