Then and now

The statistician-general compares the place where Chris Hani was born and the place where he died based on three sets of census results.

Entabeni, a village in Kusabalele in the mountainous region of Eastern Cape, is about a 1 000km from Dawn Park, a suburb in Boksburg, Gauteng.

Looking at three sets of census results, Entabeni and Boksburg tell the story of a country in transition.

Post-apartheid censuses capture the tale of these “two cities” – one rural, the other urban, one depopulating, the other with a growing population, one at the beginning of its life, the other at the end of its life.

Census 1996, the first census to be conducted in democratic South Africa, reported that the population of Entabeni was 728.

For every 100 males, there were 130 females.

15 years later, Census 2011, and the third population count under democratic rule, puts the population of Entabeni at 537 – a 26% decline.

There are 114 females for every 100 males.

For the 10 years between 2001 and 2011, Entabeni lost three people per year compared with 31 persons per year in the preceding five years.

In 1996, Entambeni was 15% the size of Dawn Park, which had 5 004 residents and 111 females for every 100 males.

By 2011, the population of Dawn Park had doubled to 10 475.

The sex ratio (the number of females for every 100 males) had dropped to 108 – from 111 in 1996.

In terms of service delivery in 1996, Entabeni had no electricity at all, while by then Dawn Park was fully electrified.

By 2001 the situation had changed little in Entabeni, where only 1% of households had electricity.

By 2011, however, the picture had changed completely for Entabeni, and 90% of households had electricity for lighting, 77% used electricity for cooking and 9.9% used this source of energy for heating.

Entabeni had in this time almost caught up with Dawn Park – at least in the use of energy for lighting with both comparing favourably above 90%.

Over a period of 15 years, through the needle of censuses under democratic rule, urbanisation and rural depopulation have been big driving forces of population dynamics and distribution.

The population of Entabeni shrunk by 26% while that of Dawn Park doubled. Services to rural communities increased and Entabeni in the 15 years was almost on par with Dawn Park in terms of energy supply.

On July 28 1942, Chris Hani (Martin Thembisile) was born in Entabeni in Kusabalele.

On April 10 1993, Chris Hani was assassinated in Dawn Park, Boksburg, 1 000km from his place of birth.

We celebrate and commemorate April 27 as Freedom Day. In 2011, Chris Hani, an ordinary village lad from Entabeni – had he lived – would have been 70 years old.

Census 2011 announces the release of place name level data on April 29 and the launch will be in Silvertown, in KwaZakhele, a stronghold of resistance against Census 2011 yet an abiding ambassador shantytown for Census 2011.

Census 2011 brings to you the South Africa I know, the home I understand.

» Lehohla is statistician-general of South Africa and the head of Statistics South Africa

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