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Reclaiming The African City: The World And The Township

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Chapter Summary

The twenty-first century has been hailed as the century of the Southern African city. Southern African cities are bursting through their colonial bonds; stimulated as well as distorted by neo-liberal globalisation. The African populations of colonial cities could never stabilise nor create local urban identities. But contemporary African cities are creating multiple urban cultures. By contrast to their regional predecessors they are simultaneously essentially global and intensely local. The regional model of the colonial city was always an intellectual construct rather than a reflection of reality. The new perspectives of African urban studies are the best way not only of looking at the contemporary and future realities but also of looking at the past realities of African cities. This chapter argues that colonial cities, too, were both global and local and that the methods and questions of the new urban scholarship, if applied to them, would prove immensely fertile.

Keywords: African Cities; colonial city; neo-liberal globalisation; urban scholarship



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