Racialized Landscapes of Tourism: From Jim Crow USA to Apartheid South Africa

  • 1 University of Johannesburg, School of Tourism and Hospitality, 2006, Johannesburg
Christian M. RogersonORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1306-8867 and Jayne M. RogersonORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3494-1311

Abstract

Tourism studies, including by geographers, give only minor attention to historically-informed research. This article contributes to the limited scholarship on tourism development in South Africa occurring during the turbulent years of apartheid (1948 to 1994). It examines the building of racialized landscapes of tourism with separate (but unequal) facilities for ‘non-Whites’ as compared to Whites. The methodological approach is archival research. Applying a range of archival sources tourism linked to the expanded mobilities of South Africa's ‘non-White’ communities, namely of African, Coloureds (mixed race) and Asians (Indians) is investigated. Under apartheid the growth of ‘non-White’ tourism generated several policy challenges in relation to national government's commitments towards racial segregation. Arguably, the segregated tourism spaces created for ‘non-Whites’ under apartheid exhibit certain parallels with those that emerged in the USA during the Jim Crow era.

1 Introduction

In a recent call for renewed attention to historical geographies of, and for, the present Van Sant et al. (2020: 169) assert “geography is always a product of history”. Until the 1990s, however, Seaton (2018: 1) maintains “tourism history was a Cinderella subject in tourism discourse”. Indeed, historical research about tourism frequently is viewed “at best, as peripheral” to mainstream contemporary investigations (Walton, 2012: 49). For tourism scholars Walton (2003, 2005, 2009a, 2009b, 2009c, 2011) continuously reminds us of the limited progress in historical tourism research and of the imperative to engage more seriously with the past in tourism writings. It is contended that “every practitioner of tourism studies, however, immediately contemporary their ostensible concerns, needs to come to terms with the ever-moving frontier of the past” (Walton, 2009a: 115). In reviewing the body of works produced in tourism studies it must be observed that across the international experience there is only minor attention accorded to historically-informed research. For tourism geography Saarinen et al.(2017: 311) argue the need for “the extended application of historical perspectives in order to inform contemporary debates and practices”.

In a perceptive commentary Butler (2015: 17) observes the overwhelming ‘present-mindedness’ of tourism scholars as a whole, the geographical community in particular, and asserts tourism researchers “should be learning about and from the past”. As is evidenced by a burst of recent published outputs South African tourism geographers are particularly active in historical tourism research (Rogerson and Visser, 2020). Over recent years historical studies have become part of the “new foci” as reflected in the contributions made by local tourism geographers (Rogerson & Visser, 2020: 1). The group of historically-focused research studies is an essential response to the view that “tourism geographies of the past merit a place on the research agenda of South African scholars” (J.M. Rogerson, 2016: 216). Scholarly outputs have included the emergence of the country's cities as tourism destinations (Rogerson and Rogerson, 2019), the evolution of seaside resorts (J.M. Rogerson, 2019; Rogerson and Rogerson, 2020), the early participation by ‘non-White’ South Africans in the country's tourism economy (Sixaba and Rogerson, 2019), the changing complexion of accommodation services (J.M. Rogerson, 2013; Pandy and Rogerson, 2014; Rogerson and Rogerson, 2018; J.M. Rogerson, 2019) and most especially the shifting character of South Africa's hotel spaces (C.M. Rogerson, 2011; J.M. Rogerson, 2018, 2019, 2020). For the apartheid period, research includes the making of beach apartheid and struggles surrounding the desegregation of leisure spaces (J.M. Rogerson, 2016, 2017), the expansion of business tourism (C.M. Rogerson, 2019a), and the appearance of the highly distinctive South African phenomenon of the ‘non-White’ hotel (C.M. Rogerson, 2020).

This article seeks to extend the limited scholarship on tourism development in South Africa occurring during the turbulent years of apartheid. In a groundbreaking and seminal article the historian Grundlingh (2006) highlighted that tourism history about apartheid South Africa is under-researched. Over a decade later Harris (2017: 236) bemoaned also the ‘meagre’ state of scholarship about tourism under apartheid. Against this backdrop, the objective is to address one facet of the investigatory void concerning tourism during apartheid (1948 to 1994). The methodological strategy is that of archival research a somewhat unfashionable yet potentially highly valuable approach in tourism studies (Power, 2018). Utilizing a range of archival sources an account is presented of the development of tourism linked to the expanded mobilities of South Africa's ‘non-White’ communities, namely of African, Coloureds (mixed race) and Asians (Indians). It is unfortunately necessary throughout the discussion that recourse be made to use the language of apartheid and its racial categorisations. In South Africa ‘non-Whites’ is a derogatory term which refers collectively to the country's designated African, Coloured and Indian communities. It is acknowledged that the term ‘non-White signifies exclusion and negates those who are not ‘White’. It represents a normalisation of ‘whiteness’ such that those individuals not falling into that category are viewed as ‘something else’ as they are bereft of ‘whiteness’. It is shown that under apartheid the growth of ‘non-White’ tourism generated several major policy challenges in relation to national government's commitments towards racial segregation. The outcome was to produce what Saarinen (2017) describes as a form of ‘enclavic tourism space’. Arguably, the segregated tourism spaces created for ‘non-Whites’ under apartheid exhibit close parallels with those that consolidated in the USA during the Jim Crow era. The Jim Crow period of American history commenced during the 1870s as a “racial caste-like system” and continued until the 1960s victories of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement (Alderman and Inwood, 2014: 68).

The term ‘racialized landscapes of tourism’ is applied by Alderman and Inwood (2014) to style features of the evolving tourism economy of the USA during this period; it is argued here the term can be used equally to characterise the period of apartheid South Africa. Our analysis is structured into three major sections of material. First, as comparative context, the discussion opens with a review of Jim Crow USA and of the evolution of racialized tourism spaces in that period. Second, the core legislative foundations for the racialization of space in South Africa are reviewed from the segregation to the apartheid era. In section three attention turns to tourism under apartheid. Analysis is undertaken of the expansion of ‘non-White’ tourism and the challenges that emerged from the planning of separate holiday spaces for whites and ‘non-Whites’. In recovering the country's racialized tourism landscape the South African discussion mines a range of archival sources. Material has been accessed from the special collections of the National Library of South Africa (Cape Town), the historical collections of the South African Institute of Race Relations held at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (William Cullen Historical Papers) as well as extensive material drawn from local newspaper archives.

2 Jim Crow and Racialized Landscapes of Tourism

Alderman and Modlin Jr. (2014: 278) state that: “During Jim Crow, African Americans endured separate (and unequal) schools, transportation and public accommodation, deprivation of political and economic rights, and a hypersegregated society that criminalized racial mixing”. In addition, the intimidation and control of the mobilities of African-Americans was underpinned by violence which included lynchings of blacks by the Ku Klux Klan and vigilante mobs as well as a litany of white-on-black race riots in the first half of the 20th century (Alderman et al., 2019). Overall Jim Crow was a spatial system as well as a social one. Geographers highlight the fact that White supremacy and associated black subjugation “required the making of places and other geographic expressions of control that legitimized the power and authority of whites, reinforced the supposed inferiority of African Americans, and maintained the wide chasm between the races” (Alderman and Inwood, 2014: 69). Indeed, the overarching principle of Jim Crow segregation was to prevent contact between white and black people as equals and thereby establishing the supremacy of whites above black people (Woods, 2017). White supremacy is understood as the presumed superiority of white racial identities, however problematically defined, in support of the political, economic and cultural domination of non-white groups (Bonds and Inwood, 2016). Put simply the maintenance of white supremacy during the Jim Crow era required in part “the production of black immobility” (Alderman and Inwood, 2014: 71).

The tourism sector in the USA was deeply impacted by Jim Crow (Foster, 1999; Kahrl, 2008; Algeo, 2013; O’Brien, 2017; Woods, 2017; Finney and Potter, 2018). Alderman (2013: 376) writes of “the highly discriminatory history of mobility and hospitality in the USA”. It is observed by Alderman (2018: 717) that “There is a lengthy history of tourism and hospitality being a site for racialization within the United States. African-American marginalization, if not outright exclusion, was foundational to the modern, white-dominated American travel industry”. Although there has never been a historical period when the movements of African Americans in the USA were not subject to white control the Jim Crow era was characterised by Alderman et al. (2019: 5) recently as one when “the apartheid politics of mobility were particularly intense”. Arguably, throughout the Jim Crow era of institutionalized discrimination and legalized segregation, “African Americans confronted considerable humiliation and harassment when travelling and were restricted to a limited number of segregated parks, beaches and hotels, restaurants and other accommodations” (Alderman, 2013: 376). Among the most extreme manifestations of racialized landscapes of tourism was the suite of so-termed ‘sundown towns’ which were white-dominated localities where, under threat of intimidation and violence, people of colour had to leave by sundown (Loewen, 2005). In certain tourism and hospitality spaces “racial mixing was frowned upon but made unlawful in certain states” (Alderman and Inwood, 2014: 68). Historically, whilst the Southern states were the epicentre for the application of Jim Crow legislation, the impress of this legislation impacted the mobilities of African Americans even in the more liberal Northern states (Armstead, 2005).

Under the era of Jim Crow racial segregation, travelling as an African American was a risk because of legal and geographic constraints and the threats of racial violence (Davison, 2019). In somewhat understated fashion Carter (2008: 265) argues that “travel was really an adventure for African Americans”. Armstead (2005) records the challenges faced by people of colour in travelling across the United States in the 1940s in terms of securing overnight accommodation and restaurant services. Accordingly, for Alderman (2013: 576) the history of African American tourism is one “of negotiating, if not overcoming a hostile social landscape”. Resistance to white supremacy was provided by a strategic reading of the racial boundaries of destinations, the advice of other travellers, assistance from black tourism operators and perhaps most significantly from the publication of special guide books to safe places. The most significant was The Green Book (Alderman and Inwood, 2014; Mitchell and Collins, 2014) or more precisely The Negro Motorist Green Book. This guide was published annually from 1936 to 1965 by Victor Green, a New York postal employee, as a travel directory which was dedicated to the needs of middle-class African Americans who could take advantage of automobilities to visit friends and relatives in distant places as well on occasion to frequent the segregated leisure resorts established for black travellers (Alderman and Inwood, 2014; Mitchell and Collins, 2014).

The guide responded to the growth in car ownership among African Americans and listed on a geographical basis the various businesses (including lodging, restaurants, bars) many (but not all) owned by blacks that welcomed them. In addition, it offered information on sights, museums and attractions in US cities (and in later years, abroad) for the would-be itinerant African-American travellers. As Hall (2014: 307) observes the guide was especially significant in the US South as it “both lessened embarrassing situations in travel as well as protected travellers from physical harm by listing locations and accommodation that served African-Americans without discrimination”. It was a tool for African Americans which allowed them “to subvert and avoid racial discrimination in twentieth century American leisure travel” (Hall, 2014: 307). Moreover, it was an essential guide at times when uncertainty surrounded the finding of welcoming hospitality spaces when travelling as they were restricted to only a limited number of segregated hotels, beaches, restaurants, parks and rest rooms. During the Jim Crow era a range of tourism and hospitality businesses to supply the specific demands of travellers of colour were established largely by African American entrepreneurs (Armstead, 2005; Davison, 2019). The segregated racialized leisure spaces provided for African Americans are explored in works by Foster (1999) on the Idlewild resort, Algeo (2013) on Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, Finney and Potter (2018) on the beach town of Tybee Island, Georgia, and O’Brien (2007) on the separate state parks set aside (either partially or exclusively) in Florida.

Overall, in the USA during the Jim Crow era there emerge racialized landscapes of tourism with separate resorts, lodging and facilities for whites as opposed to persons of colour. In this respect certain parallels can be drawn between the US experience of racial segregation and of the institutionalized racism and segregation which occurred in apartheid South Africa. The building of the extensive apartheid legislative apparatus provides the foundation for understanding the racialization of tourism spaces in South Africa.

3 Segregation and The Apartheid Apparatus for Racialized Space

The implementation of apartheid policies in South Africa for racial division and institutionalized segregation followed the 1948 electoral victory of the National party (Clark and Worger, 2011). This said, it must be understood that segregation was not a new factor in South Africa as it had been practiced for many years before 1948 and in particular directed at the control of the majority African population. As far back as 1913 the Native Land Act introduced territorial segregation in South Africa and consolidated an earlier phase of White colonial dispossession of African lands (Bundy, 1979). The 1913 Land Act allocated only 7 percent of arable land in the country for African ownership in the rural ‘reserves’, an area that in 1936 was expanded to 13 percent of the country's land area. This legislation served to reinforce the growth of the migratory labour system, which was the foundation of South Africa's cheap labour economy because the reserves functioned as labour pools or reservoirs for workers who would spend periods of time working in the country's mines and factories in major cities (Wolpe, 1972). In 1923 the Native Urban Areas Act confirmed the doctrine of Africans as mere ‘temporary sojourners’ in urban areas and there only so long as they ‘ministered unto the needs of Whites’ with their permanent homes seen as in the rural reserves (Swanson, 1968). It was planned that those Africans as temporary residents in cities would live in segregated residential spaces (‘locations’ or later restyled as ‘townships’) close enough to provide a source of cheap labour albeit far enough away with planned buffer zones to ensure a clear social distance from white residential areas (C.M. Rogerson, 2019b). The implementation of an internal passport system known as ‘influx control’ required Africans to carry a reference book or ‘pass’ the effect of which was to restrict movements from rural into urban areas mainly to those who were workers (Hindson, 1987). The mobilities of Indian South Africans also had been constrained as far back as the early days of the formation of the Union of South Africa (1910) by a system of provincial efflux and influx control the impact of which was to confine most Indians to the provinces in which they were resident (Keyter, 1962).

Under the Nationalist government the early policy of segregation was taken “to its logical conclusion” (Cachalia, 1957: 39) and from 1948 tourism in South Africa was impacted by the growing impress of apartheid legislation. In urban areas the central statute of the legislative apparatus for apartheid control was the introduction in 1950 of the Group Areas Act (Brookfield, 1957). This mandated the strict segregation within spatially discrete areas of the four ‘race’ groups (White, Coloured, Asian, African) which were recognised in terms of the Population Registration Act of 1950 (Davies, 1976). Mabin (1992) styles its origins as the planning for “comprehensive segregation” in cities. Essentially, the Group Areas Act provided for the extension across all South Africa of the racial apportionment of land which had long applied in the nation's rural areas. For Maharaj (2020) the Act was one of the key instruments to enforce the ideology of apartheid. Likewise, Harris (1999) considers this all-encompassing Act as furnishing the architects of apartheid with its ideological and material substance.

Land zoning was enacted such that all cities and towns had sectors of urban space set aside in a chequerboard pattern for the mutually exclusive ownership and occupation of legally defined racial groups (Christopher, 1997; Baranowska, 2009; Maharaj, 2020). Urban geographers view this legislation as shaping the formation of a new form of the South African city – namely ‘the apartheid city’ - albeit with its origins deeply etched in the country's colonial history (Davies, 1981; Simon and Christopher, 1984; Smith, 1992). Among others Wollheim (1960) argues that the policy of urban apartheid was “based upon the theory that where groups of differing culture and background meet in close contact, friction arises”. Underpinning this legislation is a conflict theory which stresses race-cultural differences and that a harmonious society is only achievable through minimising the interaction between different population groups (Davies, 1976). This belief is evidenced clearly by the statement made in Parliament by the Minister of the Interior at the introduction of the Group Areas Bill on 14 June 1950:

“Now this, as I say, is designed to eliminate frictions between the races in the Union because we believe, and believe strongly, that points of contact – all unnecessary points of contact – between the races must be avoided. If you reduce the number of points of contact to the minimum, you reduce the possibility of friction. The result of putting people of different races together is to cause trouble”

(cited in Franke, 1985: 31).

Davies (1976) suggests that this theory of conflict is action-oriented and was implemented as such across urban South Africa. Indeed, it constitutes “the central mechanism whereby society is functionally and spatially organised to the advantage of the ruling white minority” (Franke, 1985: 31). At the heart of apartheid planning was that South Africa's population had to be rigidly divided by law into separate racial groups and social intermingling between these different racial groups had to be curtailed so as to preserve ‘racial purity’ (Mesthrie, 1993). Overall, the implementation of the Group Areas Act impacted most strongly the lives of South Africa's Coloured and Asian (Indian) communities who were uprooted and newly isolated in ghettos where they were “kept in their place and made to live under strict controls” (Cachalia, 1957: 39). For apologists of apartheid planning the Group Areas Act had the positive benefit of eliminating racial friction and frustrations “because in the separate areas there will be no restrictions upon the ambitions of the inhabitants for whom the area has been reserved” (Wollheim, 1960: 57).

Confirmation that separate would not mean equal, however, was made by the promulgation of the Reservation of Separation Amenities Act of 1953. This legislation stated that separate exclusive facilities be provided for each of South Africa's different racial groups in their respective spatial zones of cities. This said, as pointed out by Silva and Butler-Adam (1988: 16), the legislation made clear that such action “might not be ruled invalid on the grounds that provision was not made for all races, or that facilities provided for the different races were not substantially equal”. The Act was a vital foundation for the making of racialized tourism spaces throughout the apartheid period. In particular, its significance was reinforced by passage of the Seashore Amendment Act the effect of which was that provincial and local authorities across the country were empowered to enforce apartheid on South Africa's beaches by applying to them the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act (J.M. Rogerson, 2017).

4 Non-White Tourism – Racialized Tourism Space

Apartheid legislation for the ‘separate development’ of Africans in the rural reserves alongside the enactment of Group Areas Act and the Reservation of Separate Amenities legislation underpinned white supremacy with the consequence of privileging South Africa's white minority in all aspects of daily life. The complex apparatus for controlling the mobility of ‘non-Whites’, most especially of the African proletariat, was underpinned (as in USA) by institutionalized violence and repression (Hindson, 1987; Clark and Worger, 2011). Mkhize (1994) points out the Group Areas Act and the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act placed severe restrictions on the mobility of the majority of South Africans. Whereas the former made it impossible for ‘non-Whites’ to visit destinations in geographical areas set aside for occupation by whites “the latter prohibited blacks from using amenities that were provided for whites” (Mkhize, 1994: 250). Taken together the body of apartheid legislation served to ensure that the growing tourism economy would be under almost exclusive white control throughout the apartheid years as well as remain dominated by whites as travellers mainly for leisure and business purposes (C.M. Rogerson, 2015). In addition, as shown below, apartheid controls contributed to the forging of new racialized tourism spaces in South Africa.

A key narrative about tourism under apartheid is of the state's various attempts to develop international tourism to the country at a time of South Africa's increasing global isolation as a result of the implementation of its race policies (Rogerson and Visser, 2004). However, in the wake of sanctions and the limited development of international tourism, the period 1948–1991 witnessed the growth of a strong domestic tourism market – predominantly white – in terms of an expanding leisure economy as well as a burst of business tourism (C.M. Rogerson, 2019a). South Africa's domestic tourism economy based upon the white market expanded to the point that by the 1980s the country could boast one of the strongest and most well-developed economies of domestic tourism outside of the global North (C.M. Rogerson, 2015). For much of the apartheid period the essential infrastructure for ‘non-whites’ as tourists was non-existent as they were deprived of freedom of movement by strict apartheid controls. Accordingly, it has been argued that because so many obstacles were put in the way many “blacks lost interest in tourism and looked upon it as an experience reserved for whites” (Mkhize, 1994: 249). Soon after the accession to power of the National party ‘non-Whites’ were excluded even from access to places along South Africa's coast where formerly they had enjoyed the right to camp. As early as 1948 plans were announced for the introduction of separate camping areas for the country's different race groups (Silva and Butler-Adam, 1988).

4.1 The Emergence and Growth of Non-White Tourism

Notwithstanding multiple obstacles it is evident that ‘non-White’ tourism emerged and expanded through the apartheid period. This phenomenon, however, has been largely overlooked by tourism researchers. Its neglect can be accounted for in part because during the period 1948–1970 the leisure market for travellers was constrained by racially discriminatory legislation which prohibited and made unwelcome the use of (white) tourism facilities by South Africa's ’non-White’ population groups (Ferrario, 1986; Rogerson and Lisa, 2005). Right up until the 1970s Silva and Butler-Adam (1988: 15) write “there was virtually no black tourism market because of the legal constraints imposed”. Nevertheless, for a variety of purposes, non-white tourism slowly was on the rise. In a manner similar to that in the USA the South African state sought to control and direct these growing mobilities through the establishment of segregated racialized tourism spaces as a means to preserve White supremacy.

Undoubtedly the largest component of ‘non-White’ tourism in South Africa was the growth in visiting, friends and relatives (VFR) travel by Africans - mainly men – who were working in the mines and factories of the country's major cities (especially Johannesburg and the towns of the Witwatersrand) returning home on family visits at holiday periods (particularly at Easter and Christmas) to the rural reserves which subsequently became restyled as the Bantu Homelands. The growth of this VFR form of travel is, in many respects, the opposite side of the coin to the honing of South Africa's cheap labour economy which was anchored on oscillatory migratory movements because of the existence of geographically split households (C.M. Rogerson, 2017). This VFR travel can be seen in the introduction of number of ‘non-European’ special trains operated by South African Railways using third class passenger stock and running at peak holiday seasons from the urban hubs of Johannesburg and Pretoria to places like Umtata in the rural Transkei. Typically, for 1950 the South African railways magazine records the existence of ‘heavy non-European traffic’ which at the time was ascribed to the ‘repatriation of natives’ (South African Railways and Harbours, 1950: 94). In addition to the use of passenger trains, by the 1960s there is the increasing appearance of long distance buses and later of minibus taxis to service the requirements of this VFR segment of ‘non-White’ tourism (C.M. Rogerson, 2016). As the destinations for the mass of VFR travel were the rural reserves this ‘hidden’ category of tourism aligned with the state's goal that “all Africans should be ‘repatriated’ to their ‘homelands’” (Silva and Butler-Adam, 1988: 17).

Of greatest interest is the burst of domestic (and even some international) leisure travel from the 1960s and expanding into the 1980s years of late apartheid as a consequence of the growing prosperity of a small segment of the ‘non-White’ population (Ferrario, 1988; Rogerson, 2015). Put simply there was the strengthening under apartheid of a ‘middle class’ of ‘non-Whites’ with the income and growing interest in pursuit of leisure (and business) travel. Crankshaw (1986) and Southall (2004a, 2016) observe that the precise definition of ‘middle class’ is contested in South Africa. For Southall (2004a), however, it embodies a widely understood meaning of the middle class (or ‘petty bourgeoisie’) which is characterized as drawing its primary income directly or indirectly from non-manual employment as ‘white-collar’ employees, managers, self-employed business persons or professionals. Southall (2004a) points out that prior to 1994 the separation of races meant that the historical trajectories of middle class elements were different so that there were ‘African, Indian and Coloured’ middle classes. What all shared in common was the fact of racial oppression, albeit they were differentially oppressed by the South African state and white domination. For example, in Natal there occurred the development of an Indian merchant class which was strides ahead of the African petty-bourgeoisie. Across South Africa the African majority were regarded as mere temporary dwellers in ‘white urban space’; for Pillay (1995) they were seen as ‘rural outsiders’.

As late as the late 1970s Southall (1980: 38) argues that the underdevelopment of an indigenous African bourgeoise undoubtedly constituted “one of the primary defining characteristics of South African political economy”. The historical origins of the African middle class are seen as rooted in the efforts made by Christian missionaries to create a literate ‘civilized’ African elite (Southall, 2014, 2016). Cobley (1990) details the growth of an African petty bourgeoisie in South Africa for the period 1924–1950. The resultant middle class was defined by its employment in professional, service and clerical occupations and observed for its orientation towards material improvement. Racial barriers, however, stunted further opportunities for upward mobility. This said, Wolpe (1977) considers between 1960 and 1970 there occurred “an enormous growth in African middle class”. Crankshaw (1996, 2002) also observes that despite disagreement on its precise size there is evidence at this time of the emergence of an African middle class linked to the erosion of traditional ‘racial divisions of labour’ in South Africa. As a result of growing skills shortages in the white population there occurred a lowering of the ‘colour bar’ in the workplace with the consequence of the substantial and increasing penetration of Coloureds, Asians and Africans into clerical, white collar technical and manual jobs (Crankshaw, 1996). In addition, the apartheid state began to encourage during the 1970s the growth of a small strata of African formal traders who were tied to apartheid structures (Southall, 2004b). According to Southall (1980) this changed position of African traders and capitalists was triggered by ‘reforms’ which involved the partial lifting of restrictions on them in township business development. In addition, by the 1970s the white minority regime required a class of “subaltern allies”, a cohort of middle class elements serving as politicians and bureaucrats variously in the homelands, urban township administration as well as the Indian and Coloured ‘’own affairs’ departments which were established in 1984 with the introduction of South Africa's tricameral parliamentary system (Seethal, 1991; Southall, 2004).

By the 1980s Nzimande (1990) argues the African petty bourgeoisie had four different segments. First, was the bureaucratic petty bourgeoise composed of the rural Bantustans and urban township strata that were closely tied to the apartheid state. Second, was the trading petty African bourgeoisie consisting of both urban and rural traders. Third, was the civil petty bourgeoise comprised of civil servants and state employees; Crankshaw (1996) confirms that much of the African advancement in the apartheid period was concentrated in racially segregated public service jobs such as teaching and nursing. For Southall (2004) also this third group was the largest stratum and comprised largely of nurses, teachers and clerks. Finally, there was a small segment of corporate petty bourgeoisie or ‘African capitalists’ as Southall (1980) styles them. All these different elements of the African, Coloured and Indian middle classes had the incomes and, in many cases, the growing interest to participate in tourism. The expansion of domestic travel was given further impetus from the 1960s by improved automobilities because of growing car ownership by ‘non-Whites’ and importantly also the concession of annual periods of leave for ‘non-Whites’ (Ferrario, 1986; C.M. Rogerson, 2020).

4.2 The Making of Racialized Tourism Spaces Under Apartheid

During the 1950s and 1960s few tourism facilities existed for the expanding leisure market for middle class ‘non-White’ travellers in South Africa and in particular for African leisure travellers. In certain parts of the country early implementation of apartheid legislation resulted in diminished options for ‘non-White’ travellers as access was barred from certain facilities previously open to them (Silva and Butler-Adam, 1988). By the 1960s it was recorded only two beaches were open to Africans along the entire Natal South Coast and at one of these sites bathing was dangerous not least because of sea currents as well as minimal provision against the ever-present threat of shark attacks (Horrell, 1967: 301).

In 1962 the liberal organisation, the South African Institute of Race Relations, produced a booklet which listed dedicated holiday and travel facilities for ‘non-Whites’ in South Africa (Keyter, 1962). The report confirms nationally the minimal provision of facilities and of an infrastructure to support the growth of ‘non-White’ tourism. In terms of existing facilities it highlights the activities and involvement of the private sector as well as several non-governmental organisations and welfare associations in supplying tourism options for ‘non-White’ travellers. The most well-developed facilities related to the Indian and Coloured communities. In 1958 the Rotary Club of Cape Town established a holiday resort for Coloureds at Soetwater, Kommetjie close to Cape Town (Horrell, 1970). In 1961 a private company developed South Africa's first all-Indian seaside resort at Tinley Manor Beach, situated north of Durban (Keyter, 1962). Both these developments were forerunners for the rollout of a further series of segregated resorts that were initiated in the 1970s for Coloureds and Indians. Geographically these racialized tourism spaces were located mainly in the Cape Peninsula and surrounds for Coloureds and in coastal areas of Natal for Indians not least because of the cumbersome processes and special difficulties that members of this community experienced in obtaining a permit to travel outside their province of residence. Travel to the Cape Province from Natal or the Transvaal was especially onerous as since 1891 Indians had been prohibited from residence in the Orange Free State and thus continued to require special permission to travel through that province for most of the apartheid period (Keyter, 1962).

During the apartheid years several further separate resorts were built for Coloureds, the most up-market and prestigious being the Sonesta resort which was established in 1976 on a lagoon setting close to Hermanus in Western Cape in order to serve as a luxury leisure space for the privileged elite of Coloured society in South Africa (Rogerson and Rogerson, 2020). In addition to the coastal areas, resorts were established for Coloureds and Indians in South Africa's interior mainly situated close to the major population hubs of Johannesburg, Pretoria and the towns of the Witwatersrand. For example, the Roodeplaat Dam Public Resort, 30 km from Pretoria, was the first of its kind in South Africa and opened in 1979 to cater for both the Coloured and Indian communities. This resort was developed mainly for caravanners and campers with two separate camps – one for each racial group – each with a range of separate accommodation facilities, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, children's paddling pool and shop (The Automobile Association of South Africa, no date). Further, at the Indian part of the resort it was proclaimed “there is a special swimming pool for ladies” (The Automobile Association of South Africa, no date).

Undoubtedly, the most disadvantaged ‘non-White’ community in terms of tourism facilities was the African majority. By the mid-1960s no specific resort facilities existed for them albeit Keyter's (1962: 50) report notes that the as yet undeveloped Umgazi River mouth in Transkei was “a popular holiday resort among Africans”. The only facilities that existed were the Mnini Holiday Camp situated “in a Native reserve area” on the Natal South Coast which was used mainly “for African children on holiday, religious groups holding conventions, and leadership training” (Keyter, 1962: 24). As shown both by Hugo (1974) and by Silva and Butler-Adam (1988) the leisure and recreation facilities (including beaches) permitted for use by Africans were minimal and of very poor quality. The absence of facilities attracted the attention of national government which intervened to establish two state-sanctioned resorts specifically for Africans. In 1969 the parastatal Bantu Investment Corporation began work on the uMgababa resort for Africans which was situated 40 km south of Durban on the Natal South Coast. The resort was converted from the site of an old titanium processing plant (Natal Mercury, 30 September 1970). It opened in 1970 and was extremely well patronised; three years after opening it was attracting annually 104 000 visitors. The attractiveness of this resort related not only to its beach product and facilities on offer but also to its accessibility near a railway station as well as proximity to a major urban centre, Durban. It was reported in 1972 that the resort had to turn people away as it was so popular (Teversham, 2013). The resort offered a total of 194 beds in dormitories, 10 chalets, a 12 site caravan park and camping accommodation for up to 300 people (Natal Mercury, 30 September, 1970). Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s the uMgababa holiday resort functioned to attract large streams of mainly urban visitors to the Zululand coast until the resort was badly impacted by a fire which destroyed much of its facilities (Teversham, 2013).

Another option for Africans was to visit a game reserve. South Africa's national parks were generally reserved for use by white patrons although as far back as the 1930s there was a small amount of accommodation set aside for ‘non-white’ guests at Kruger National Park. Within Kruger National Park a small camp for the use by all ‘non-whites’ was opened at Pretorius Kop in 1961 (Silva and Butler-Adam, 1988: 18). In 1967 the state established the Manyeleti Game Reserve for exclusive use by Africans. Manyeleti enjoyed a chequered history not least for its role as the sole game reserve set aside as racialized tourism space. The Manyeleti resort never achieved the visitor numbers of uMgababa as by 1973 it attracted only 20 000 visitors. The planning of this resort linked both to visitor enjoyment but also to its role “as a conservation space with an ecological and educational goal” (Teversham, 2013: 1878). Two main reasons explain the establishment of this game reserve. First, that it would be “a beacon to educate Africans in conservationist ideals” (Teversham, 2013: 1880); indeed, education and conservation were the key drivers of Manyeleti. Second, it potentially also fulfilled a political function as rural holiday resorts might draw urban Africans back to the countryside and reconnect them with the rural landscape and thereby entice them to relocate back to the Homelands (Rogerson, 2015). However, the Manyeleti resort (which later became incorporated as part of the Gazankulu Homeland) was never a successful holiday destination not least because it was expensive and difficult to access. Often the conservation and education goals became secondary to activities such as swimming, football, eating game meat and alcohol consumption. Essentially, Manyeleti functioned as an escape from the controls that Africans endured in everyday urban life under apartheid (Teversham, 2013). In addition to the state-sponsored resorts “about two dozen municipal or private facilities, often no more than open beaches or simple picnic grounds, were available to the Black public” simply for recreational purposes (Ferrario, 1988: 36).

Beyond the racialized spaces of resorts the segment of South Africa's tourism economy most impacted by apartheid legislation was accommodation services. The passage of the 1950 Group Areas Act followed closely by the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act effectively excluded all ‘non-Whites’ from staying in what were now hotel spaces reserved only for use by whites. The emergence of what became known as the ‘non-White’ hotel therefore became another significant manifestation of the racialized tourism landscape of apartheid South Africa (C.M. Rogerson, 2020). The growth of the ‘non-White’ hotel began in the 1950s and located in urban areas within the designated Group Areas for Coloureds and Indians. Such establishments were the product of the entrepreneurship of both white and ‘non-White’ entrepreneurs and catered variously for the growth occurring both of business as well as leisure travellers. During the 1950s and early 1960s the annual surveys of the South African Institute of Race Relations record the opening of various establishments for Indians such as the Windsor and Taj Mahal hotels in Pietermaritzburg and the Himalaya and New Moon Hotels in Durban (Horrell, 1959, 1962). By the early 1960s Keyter (1962) records the largest numbers of these establishments as found in Cape Town, Durban and Pietermaritzburg. From the mid-1960s the spread of these hotels occurred into the Indian and Coloured Group Areas of Johannesburg with the most well-known being The Planet Hotel in Fordsburg which was allowed to accommodate all ‘non-White’ tourists, including Africans (The Star, 17 July 1964).

The greatest difficulties for securing accommodation befell African travellers as African entrepreneurs were prohibited by legislation to develop accommodation establishments in the growing urban townships that sprawled around for example Johannesburg or Pretoria. In terms of the fiction that Africans were only temporary visitors in the cities African entrepreneurship was to be restricted severely to the provision of only daily essentials (C.M. Rogerson, 2019b). Throughout the apartheid years urban African entrepreneurs were encouraged to develop businesses – including accommodation businesses – only in their designated rural Homelands (Beavon and Rogerson, 1990). Accordingly, in major cities severe difficulties confronted Africans in securing particularly low-cost accommodation. Especially for the emerging market of African leisure travellers it was most challenging “to find accommodation during their holidays” (Mkhize, 1994: 250). In leisure tourist destinations such as Cape Town or Durban holiday flats and hotels legally could not accommodate ‘non-Whites’ because of Group Areas legislation (Silva and Butler-Adam, 1988). It was onerous for African travellers – leisure or business – to secure accommodation services in the inner cities which functioned as defended spaces. Indeed, the liberal South African Institute of Race Relations went so far as to issue a special guide for Africans in Johannesburg (Suttner, 1966). This guide – at a city scale akin to the content of the US Green Book – offered advice on where Africans might stay, places to eat, places to drink (especially beer halls), public conveniences, cinemas, and transport. Nevertheless, in the distinctiveness of apartheid the guide contains several pages which remind readers about the regulations relating to influx control legislation and of the need for African visitors to Johannesburg to be always in possession of a ‘pass’ failing which they faced potential arrest and imprisonment.

5 Conclusion

The making (and unmaking) of racialized tourism spaces is a research issue which so far has received only limited exploration by tourism scholars. In recovering racialized tourism spaces of the past in South Africa the study applied an archival approach which highlights more broadly the need for more historically-informed tourism studies including in tourism geography. The analysis investigated racialized space which was produced in tourism during the apartheid period set within the context of the parallel emergence of racialized tourism spaces in Jim Crow USA.

Beginning in the late 19th century Jim Crow laws prevented African Americans from using the same accommodation and resort services as whites (Alderman and Inwood, 2014; Hall, 2014). The implementation from 1948 of apartheid legislation in South Africa engineered racialized landscapes of separate accommodation, resorts, beaches and restaurants which exhibit certain similarities between those for African Americans during Jim Crow. Further comparison of the US and South Africa experiences reveals another common thread in terms of the underlying rationale for the introduction of legislative controls being that of bolstering White supremacy. This goal required the implementation of constrains on the mobilities of dominated racial groups. In the case of the USA, however it was controls imposed upon the minority group of African Americans whereas in South Africa it was that of controlling the mobilities of the country's largest racial group. Indeed, arguably, the major differences between USA and South Africa concerns the extraordinary extent and refinement of the state apparatus of controls for planning separate racial spaces which formed part of the broader grand scheme for territorial segregation and the creation of ‘Homelands’ for the majority African population.

Finally, in comparative analysis, the record of tourism in apartheid South Africa confirms that of the USA by showing that every racialized landscape, no matter how oppressive, “holds the seeds of its undoing” (Alderman and Modlin Jr, 2014: 278). In South Africa the de-racialization of tourism spaces proceeded unevenly with different trajectories for the country's resorts, hotels and game reserves. Although racially segregated resort spaces persisted until the closing years of the apartheid era in 1986 hotel apartheid was ended because of mounting opposition to the ambiguities of racially segregated hotels. In USA research Alderman (2018) contends that despite its ending in 1965 by the Civil Rights Movement, Jim Crow legislation exerts a powerful legacy in terms of tourism and mobilities of African Americans. Research is needed in South Africa to explore the legacy of racialized tourism spaces in relation both to the workings of the contemporary tourism economy and of the evolving tourisms of the country's Coloured, Indian and - most especially - of its majority African population.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Dallen Timothy for drawing our attention to the parallels between USA and South Africa. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the University of Girona, Catalonia. The useful comments received at that presentation are acknowledged as well as those from two journal referees. Skye Norfolk also give useful inputs. Funding was from University of Johannesburg.

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  • Alderman, D.H. (2018). The racialized and violent biopolitics of mobility in the USA: An agenda for tourism geographers. Tourism Geographies, 20(4): 717–720.

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