Emeritus Professor Julian Cooke, School of Architecture, University of Cape Town

Thursday 25–Friday 26 January 3.00 pm COURSE FEES R220; Staff and students R110

The course examines firstly the spatial history of the labour compound from its beginning in the Kimberley diamond fields, to the gold mines on the Witwatersrand and in the Free State, to the hostels all over South Africa. It does so in the light of work by researchers in several disciplines to explore the relations between culture, society and space. It aims to show that the spatial and social organisation of hostels constituted a set of power relations which persisted for more than a hundred years although the political dispensation underwent substantial change over the period, although the form of hostels has changed, and although the owners, or controllers, of hostels have changed.

Secondly, the course discusses a Cape Town project which aimed to, and in many ways managed to, transform the institution and point to a positive direction for South African urbanism.

Lecture titles

  1. The changing form of the migrant labour hostels: 1870–1970
  2. For a home, people die: the story of a successful Cape Town hostel’s transformation

Recommended reading

Minnaar, A. (ed.). 1993. Communities in Isolation: perspectives on hostels in South Africa. Pretoria: HSRC.

Turrell, R.V. 1987. Capital and Labour on the Kimberley Diamond Fields 1871–1890. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wilson, F. 1972. Migrant Labour. Johannesburg: The South African Council of Churches and SPROCAS.

Cooke, J. 2021. For a home people die, a community struggle makes a post-apartheid model. Cape Town: Self-published.