On this day 65 years ago, Walter Sisulu addressed a meeting of the African National Congress (ANC) at the Communal Hall in Johannesburg. At the meeting he spurred 5 000 people to volunteer to protest ‘Blackspots’ removal.
A 'Blackspot' was an area of land in which blacks lived in freehold in what the National Government regarded as white South Africa. The Blackspots were bought legally by blacks, either as individuals or as groups, before apartheid legislation made it illegal to do so, and many had been bought as far back as before the Union Government of South Africa in 1910. They were not the same as the black reserves, where 13% of the land had been officially set aside for 70% of the population, and where land was distributed by the chief.
In 1962, the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development stated in Parliament that there were about 350 Blackspots in South Africa, 250 of which were in KwaZulu-Natal. These had been identified after the National Government came into power in 1948. The people living in these areas were told that they had to move to undeveloped areas far from towns and transport, where there was no work, no schools, no shops and no transport.
Examples of Blackspots were Charlestown, Besterspruit and Kumalosville. In 1953 the black people of Charlestown were told that they would have to move to Buffalo Flats. In 1963 they were forcibly moved from Charlestown to another area called 'Duck Ponds'. Their Charlestown houses were demolished, and their goods were loaded onto lorries and moved to small prefabricated huts. They were not allowed to take their livestock with them.
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