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Focusing on South Africa's three main cities - Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban - this book explores South African urban history from the late nineteenth century onwards. In particular, it examines the metropolitan perceptions and experiences of both black and white South Africans, as well as those of visitors, especially visitors from Britain and North America. Drawing on a rich array of city histories, travel writing, novels, films, newspapers, radio and television programs, and oral histories, Vivian Bickford-Smith focuses on the consequences of the depictions of the South African metropolis and the 'slums' they contained, and especially on how senses of urban belonging and geography helped create and reinforce South African ethnicities and nationalisms. This ambitious and pioneering account, spanning more than a century, will be welcomed by scholars and students of African history, urban history, and historical geography.
Vivian Bickford-Smith is Extraordinary Professor at Stellenbosch University and Visiting Fellow in the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London.