Moving onwards and upwards

2013-07-14 14:00

The Roots 2013 report reveals that South Africans are working harder, getting richer and that previously white suburbs are becoming more integrated

During the apartheid era, race was used to determine where people resided in South Africa.

Since the dawn of democracy in 1994, the nation has seen significant changes into urban areas that were previously reserved for whites only.

The Roots 2013 report, compiled by TNS Research Surveys, saw 28?500 people from 115 urban areas being interviewed face-to-face over a 10-month period, to assess the changes across affluent areas.

The results, as shown in the graphic on the right, show that not only are black people moving into so-called white suburbs, but that the language spoken in these areas is changing too.

Take, for instance, the suburb of Pretoria East, where 89% of residents were white in 2007. Afrikaans was also a dominant language, spoken

by 66% of the residents.

Today, all that has changed and blacks – including coloureds and Indians – make up 34% of the population and 43% of the residents speak Afrikaans.

English and indigenous languages have seen a dramatic increase over the years too.

And those who are moving into the suburbs are richer as well, meaning they are able to send their children to well-off former Model C and private schools and shop in the best of shopping malls.

John Bowles, the joint managing director at Newspaper Advertising Bureau, said: “Racial shifts are highly significant to marketers and business. If areas like the suburbs in Pretoria are changing dramatically, manufacturers and retailers need to be making sure they are in touch with these ‘new’ communities.

The destination suburbs to which black households are moving are spread across the nation’s urban zones.

The report’s findings are likely to assist government in its plan to deracialise suburbs.

In May, while delivering his budget speech, former human settlements minister Tokyo Sexwale said this was a priority and that it would take “gigantic efforts, over a long period” to undo the legacy of apartheid.

The department’s “residential deracialisation strategy” aims to oblige banks to “continue to provide loans to black people desiring to buy properties in white areas”.

» The Roots survey has been conducted since 2001, which allows for the trending of data and the opportunity to see the changes in the marketplace over the past 11 years

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