|Laws Effecting the Removals|
Under the new National Party government that began ruling in South Africa in 1948, several different laws were established and enforced. These laws were intensely prohibitive and resulted in misery for hundreds of thousands of people in South Africa. In the case of South End, where people of all cultures had formerly been living comfortably together, these laws were a nasty slap in the face for every person of a different skin colour. The laws angered them, destroyed their lives and caused a lot of hardship and misery.
The Group Areas Act
The Group Areas Act assigned particular racial groups to different residential and business locations in urban areas. One of the reasons for the law was to exclude non-whites from living in the most coveted and developed areas, which were restricted to whites only under the new law. Apart from being blatantly discriminatory, the laws caused untold hardships. People were forced to leave their homes and friends, businesses were closed and many non-whites were faced with the expensive and time-consuming task of having to commute long distances in order to be able to continue working.
Job Reservations Act
Under the new government, it was determined that people of a certain race were only suitable to work in specific trades. Whites were given the best jobs and salaries, while coloureds were allowed to assist the whites in their tasks and were the second-highest wage earners. African job opportunities were limited to menial labour and included jobs such as digging and laying sewerage pipes. This was considered to be a dirty job that was below most white people. This new ruling made it difficult or impossible for many people of another colour to make a decent living. It also closed many job opportunities to educated and intellectual people who could have been an asset to the workforce.
Separate Development Act
Separate Development saw to it that each newly created, segregated community developed within itself. Though this might seem easy enough in concept, in practise it was much more difficult. People had been taken from everything they knew - from the communities they understood and supported and from the businesses that had once been a part of everyday life. Shops closed down and the distances that people were now expected to travel for the simplest commodities made it difficult or impossible for most to get to newly demarcated ‘coloured’ or ‘black’ areas. Nevertheless, people continued to have a very industrious attitude to life and they found ways to create business opportunities through which they could support themselves and their families. They would usually start off small; travelling to the markets to purchase fresh vegetables, clothing or beverages. They would then return home and sell these items from a room on the side of their homes at a small profit.
Knowing the costs and time involved in travelling to acquire the same goods for themselves, other people living in the neighbourhood would choose to purchase these slightly more expensive items as they were available on demand and with little effort. In this way, many people were able to build up small businesses such as cafés, general dealers, house-shops and shebeens.
Despite the anguish caused by the enforcement of such laws, the people of South End continued to hold to the values they had been raised with – ones of tolerance, love, kindness and peace. They refused to let the negative effects of what had happened to them change their views and beliefs. They strove to inculcate an acceptance of multi-cultural cohabitation in their children. In doing so, they provided a stellar example for future generations to come.