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1.4 Undoing spatial apartheid structures

This case study is an attempt to evaluate the challenge of undoing apartheid-moulded spatial patterns in the BBT region, initially informally and later formally. Since 1986 changing political, economic and social dynamics have influenced spatial strategies and processes significantly, resulting in rapidly changing spatial patterns as apartheid boundaries faded away. In Bloemfontein the scale, intensity and variety of spatial processes undoing the structures of the past are more dynamic than elsewhere in the region. Encouraging progress in transforming Thaba Nchu as a former bantustan area into an integral part of the Free State can be observed. However, the largest monument to apartheid ideology in the region, Botshabelo, has experienced insignificant internal changes and external forces are increasingly determining the future of this highly subsidised settlement.

The processes which had the most significant impact on undoing the spatial structures of the past in the BBT region are the following:

It is most unlikely that this region will experience more drastic change over a similar period than that experienced over the last twelve years. It should be remembered that for a period of more than 160 years the region was spatially moulded according to informal and formal apartheid planning principles. The spatial heritage of the past will not be eradicated easily and this heritage will have to be coped with for years to come. This analysis is also aimed at making a contribution as a geographer towards the development of IDPs for each of the three areas as well as for the BBT region as a whole. It is recommended that the local IDPs should form the basis for a regional IDP. We all need the vision of a challenging future free from political agendas. Perhaps the shared vision for the region with its 700 000 residents should be: the BBT region of Peace and Reconciliation.

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created: October 1999; last alteration: October 13th 1999 - JL