Resisting gentrification and displacement in the Global South: Experiences from Cape Town, South Africa

Authors: Delia Ah Goo*, North West University
Topics: Urban Geography, Africa, Human Rights
Keywords: gentrification, displacement, resistance, inner city, Global South
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: 8228, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Many people are confronted with gentrification in cities across the world and are at risk of being displaced from their homes. This process, however, has not gone unchallenged and different forms and practices of resistance have been used by residents in their fight to remain in their homes and in their neighbourhood. However, not much research has been conducted into the ways in which long-time residents resist gentrification in their everyday practices and how they may be involved in more overt forms of resistance such as community activism. This paper focuses on the everyday practices and strategies of resistance used by residents of Woodstock, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Cape Town, South Africa, in their fight against gentrification and displacement. Long-time residents of this gentrifying neighbourhood have been displaced and forced to relocate to the outskirts of the city, while others have been left homeless. Many residents have been living in this inner-city neighbourhood for decades with some having successfully resisted against their forced removal from their homes, when Woodstock was declared a white group area during the apartheid era. However, they are now subject to the possibility of losing their homes again which has recently led to residents rising up against gentrification and the threat of displacement and evictions. Key strategies identified in this study include both overt forms of resistance, as well as other less visible and less antagonistic practices.

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