The Emergence of the South African Metropolis:
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. Drawing on a rich array of city histories, travel writing, novels, films, newspapers, radio and television programmes, and oral histories, Vivian Bickford-Smith focuses on the consequences of the depictions of the South African metropolis and the ‘slums’ they contained. The book also seeks to place South African cities comparatively alongside similar treatment of European and North American cities of the same period.
Vivian Bickford-Smith is Extraordinary Professor at Stellenbosch University, Emeritus Professor at the University of Cape Town and Visiting Fellow in the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London. ‘The Emergence of the South African Metropolis breaks new ground in writing the cultural history of South Africa’s major conurbations. It is especially innovative in discussion of the diverse Anglophone communities that dominated the cities in their early years and Bickford-Smith is equally interesting on African urban culture.’ William Beinart, African Studies Centre, University of Oxford
‘In this elegant study of how South African cities have been imagined, Bickford-Smith reveals a cacophonous urban landscape of conflict, hope, and possibility not yet overwhelmed by racial ordering.’ James R. Brennan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.