Cultural trends and community formation in a South African township: Sharpeville, 1943-1985.

Thesis examines cultural expressions and community attachment, and their relation to each other, in the creation and maintenance of urban identity. In examining this, the thesis considers a number of key cultural forms in Sharpeville such as boxing, football, musicial performance, youth. gangs, and styles of dress. It argues that, conceptually, "community" is never static; rather it is a state of existence, a perception, for a grouping of people. At a given time they may consider themselves to be collectively part of or constitute a community; at another, their attachments may be to a different entity - the local neighbourhood, for example. The empirical data was derived mainly from primary sources although due to the historical time-period examined - namely 1943 to 1985 - there was some reference to secondary sources. The research involved mainly in-depth interviews and participant observation. By administering a questionnaire, "key" informants within the various cultural areas examined were identifed and interviewed at length, sometimes more than once. The thesis argues that "communities" only gain a sense of cohesion, "identity" and unity at certain specific historical moments; at other times the cultured focus within them may in fact express quite other meanings than those of "community" for their members. This identity is seen thus as both a product of the structural features which inform, influence and even dictate its direction as well as the responses and actions of the residents themselves, in shaping its outcome.
A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of Arts University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg for the Degree of Master of Arts.
Ethnology -- South Africa., Urbanization -- South Africa., Community development, Urban -- South Africa., Sharpeville (South Africa) -- History.