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Making Freedom: Apartheid, Squatter Politics, and the Struggle for Home

Anne-Maria Makhulu
Anne-Maria Makhulu

Anne-Maria Makhulu is Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology and African and African American Studies at Duke University. She is a coeditor of Hard Work, Hard Times: Global Volatility and African Subjectivities.


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Book Chapter


September 2015

This chapter outlines the literatures that are critical to the larger project. These include a significant body of work on cities, on African cities, on theories of space, and perhaps most critically, on the right to the city. The chapter also provides context for the history of squatting in Cape Town—described as the “encroachment of the ordinary”—referencing present—that is, post-apartheid—initiatives to address a legacy of both housing and land scarcity in view of the persistence of informal settlements. While the new South African state has gone to considerable lengths to deliver homes, most notably through the Reconstruction and Development Programme (rdp), housing remains a central political issue, one that is as yet unresolved and that has led to a revival of older apartheid-era opposition politics.

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