The Naidus Started It | Sojourners

The Naidus Started It

"What are you trying to prove?" asked the inebriated visitor as he peered at our tents and tarpaulin-covered furniture on the narrow pavement in front of 28 Park Drive, Mayfair, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

"That the Group Areas Act came out of hell," I impulsively answered. The people restricted to Group Areas because of their darker skin color know this fact all too well. How to get the South African government to see it that way is the problem.

Before the Indian Naidu family camped on the pavement in protest, people officially classified as Indian, Colored, or Black had simply crept away from Group Areas enforcements. Johannesburg's ghettos for these groups are overflowing because of the influx to the city for jobs. The cabinet minister responsible for "Community Development" as well as for "Indian and Colored Affairs," Mr. Marais Steyn, has said they must double up as did his Afrikaner forebears when they were poor and oppressed by the British. But many Indian and Colored families are already trebled up. Garages and rickety sheds serve those who can't fit in with relatives in normal housing.

So thousands of people have moved into nearby "white areas," quietly, anonymously, like mice in fear of cats. When reported by members of the right-wing National Front or otherwise discovered by the Group Areas police, they are prosecuted and given notice to vacate.

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