Urban Forum

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 335-361

First online:

Residential Desegregation Dynamics in the South African City of Bloemfontein

  • Ralph RexAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, University of the Free State
  • , Gustav VisserAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, University of the Free State Email author 

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The paper revisits the city of Bloemfontein more than a decade and a half after the repeal of the Group Areas Act (GAA). The aim is to determine the extent to which apartheid residential property ownership segregation has changed. The scrapping of the GAA saw the movement of black property owners into the city’s former white neighbourhoods. Initially, the percentage in this regard was low, starting at 2.3% in 1995. Twelve years later desegregation levels in residential property ownership have increased to 11.4%. In contrast to 1995, desegregation has now taken place in all the former white group areas. The highest level of residential property ownership desegregation has occurred in neighbourhoods with relatively low municipal valuations and small stands in close proximity to former black township areas. It also transpired that single residential stands, as opposed to sectional title units in more densely developed residential complexes, are preferred by black residential property owners moving into former white group areas.


South Africa Bloemfontein Segregation Desegregation Residential property Property ownership