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Privacy and the weakness of community: Poor post-apartheid urban neighbourhoods in Cape Town, South Africa

By Singumbe Muyeba

Abstract

The unintended outcome of home ownership in new low income neighbourhoods of post-apartheid South Africa has been to constrain community making. This is counter-intuitive as one would expect that home owners who are financially invested in the neighbourhood would be more community-minded than nonhome owners. To explore this counter-intuitive finding, the article examines how home owners in four post-apartheid low income urban neighbourhoods in the city of Cape Town construct their lived experiences of community. Residents strictly adhere to the privacy of home and privacy has constrained the development of various dimensions of community, although unevenly. Privacy emerges from various structuring forces namely the fear of violent crime and criminality, socio-economic deprivation and the continuing salience of racial prejudice. The paper concludes that the residents’ decision to be private is the critical point at which community-making is inhibited. Some dimensions of community are strong in some neighbourhoods, reflecting the resilience of human agency in the face of structural pressures or constraints

Publisher: University of Cape Town
Year: 2016
OAI identifier: oai:open.uct.ac.za:11427/19297

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