Daria A. Zelenova, Vladislav V. Kruchinsky

Institute for African Studies RAS, Moscow

Articles. Research

The paper investigates the phenomenon of state’s regulation of urban informality in contemporary South Afriсa through the histories of various communities currently residing in one of the largest Temporary Relocation Areas, informally known as Blikkiesdorp («Tin Can Town» in Afrikaans). There phenomenon of TRA’s resembled the apartheid practices of forced removals and has been criticised for its extremely poor housing and living conditions, as well as high crime rates despite the constant police presence. The domination of the right angle in the outline of these areas represents the orderly fashion the state aims at maintaining these spaces in, but the climate inside the settlements often proves otherwise. The paper uses Blikkiesdorp as a case study aimed to evaluate state’s intentions behind its intentions and compares them to the direct experiences of the residents of the settlement. Based on participant observation, interviews with the officials and in-depth interviews with the TRA's residents, conducted in 2011 and 2013, the paper argues that this phenomenon of South African urban planning presents what James Scott rightly called an "inadequate simplification" which may turn to a state-maintained disaster.

Keywords: contemporary South Africa, urban informality, selforganisation, marginalisation, urban communities