The Group Areas Act of 1950 passed by the newly elected National Party gave the government power to say where people allocated to each race group could live and own property. Thousands of black and brown people were violently moved from many areas around the city into areas like Langa, Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha, and even as far as Atlantis, north of the city along the West coast.
In 1991 the Population Registration Act and the Group Areas Act were repealed; in April 1994 the first democratic elections were held in South Africa and apartheid was dismantled. Since then, many are reclaiming their heritage and bringing to the surface the stories of the Camissa People and the heritage of the KhoeKhoe and the enslaved is being proudly celebrated. At the same time, the forgotten history of Table Mountain’s springs and underground water flows has been unearthed by researchers and the value of this water reassessed.
Today, while some progress has been made, the structures and scars of colonisation and apartheid spatial planning, compounded by rapid urbanisation and post-democracy misrule and corruption, create huge challenges for the creation of an equitable and ecologically sound urban water system that serves all the residents of Cape Town.