Blackspots, forced removals and resettlement

Land Issues:Blackspots, forced removals and resettlement.

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 Natal (now 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.  Although they were originally told they would be compensated, they did not receive compensation. 

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, 40 miles away, and 18 miles from Newcastle, the nearest town.  In 1963 people were forcibly moved from Charlestown to another area, 6 miles from Newcastle, 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. 

The Liberal Party of South Africa (LPSA) was involved in the fight against these policies, particularly Peter Brown, whose involvement led to the founding of the Association for Rural Advancement (AFRA). 

The following collections contain information on Blackspots, forced removals and resettlement: 

 PC 2 Liberal Party of South Africa (LPSA)
 PC 16   Peter Brown
 PC 14    John Aitchison
 PC 29   Association for Rural Advancement (AFRA)
 PC 54   Pat Merrett
 PC 87   ‘Bunty’ Biggs
 PC 126  Gerry Maré: Natal Room Collection

 Information from:
Blackspots: a study of apartheid in action, pub. LPSA.
The Charlestown story by Alan Paton, pub. LPSA.
The people wept…: The story of the Group Areas Act by Alan Paton, pub. LPSA