Soweto No.1 Kasie

Klipspruit is the first township in Soweto. It was founded in 1905 by the Johannesburg City Council. The people here used to live in tiny V-shaped shacks built by the government. The shacks had only one door, and were without foundation.

Old Kasie: Klipspruit street…

It all started with the discovery of nuggets of gold ore in Johannesburg in 1886. Treasure seekers – Black and White – flooded the city in search of fortune. The city became overpopulated and slums mushroomed. The living condition was appalling. Entertainment were bars, shebeens, gambling and prostitution. In 1904 a deadly bubonic plaque hit this squalid part of the city.

As the result, the JCC forcefully sent Black people 13 kilometers away from the city. The place was called Klpspruit. It was a sewerage dump area. The situation here was worse than the slums in the city. Stench of sewerage permeated the area. Infant mortality rate was staggering: 380 babies out of every 1000 died each year (Bonner & Segal 1998). And the people were far from their place of work.

The relocation was an excuse. The administration was wary of Whites, Indians and Blacks living together. They thought the setup could dilute the White race and undermine the White supremacy.

Experts estimate the Soweto population to be` between 2 and 3 million, with over 30 townships. It is the most popular and influential township in South Africa – known for its resistance against the apartheid regime. The acronym, Soweto, (South African Western Townships) was officially adopted in 1963. That is 58 years after Klipspruit was founded.


Reference: Bonner P. and Segal L. (1998) Soweto A History: Maskew Miller (Pty) Ltd, Cape Town.

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