• Short Summary

    Block B -- a leap of derelict corrugated-iron buildings, scarcely fit for animals and revolting in their squalor.

  • Description

    GV PAN Demolished houses in Sopia town


    ZV. Above

    LV. Above

    CU. SIGN - Devils Corner

    CV. Alley with shacks

    CU. Rent notice (over printed)

    BCU. Section of above with erasure adamant on Letter 'I' on world 'Illegal'

    SV. Old iron store house, now shack

    GV. Shacks

    CV. Woman draws water from communal tap

    SV. Woman walks with water

    GV. Shacks. Woman washes clothes outside

    SV. Woman washes clothes

    GV. Another woman walks with tin of water on head

    SV. Woman tips water into gulley

    CV. Dog squets

    SLV. Row of lavatories

    SV. Dispirited old woman about to enter shack changes wind - wanders away

    GV. Old woman sits outside shack

    CV. Old woman sits

    MV. Old woman sits

    SV. Young child feeding baby

    CV. Above baby

    MV. Child with bandaged head

    CU. Above

    MV. Another child shrinks in doorway shy

    CU. Another child sucks finger

    MV. Minister clangs iron bar

    LV. Church (white iron shack) youngsters enter

    CV. Minister welcomes woman worshipper

    MV. Adult worshippers move in to church

    CV.PAN. Shacks

    SLV. Shacks

    GV. Shacks
    Initials ANH/JF/AS/CW Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Block B -- a leap of derelict corrugated-iron buildings, scarcely fit for animals and revolting in their squalor. Yet this filthy eyesore six miles from Johannesburg's centers, is home for 150 South African coloured families. Here men, Women and children live and eat among the dirt -- thankful to hare a roof over their heads.

    For their pitiful hovels, the tenants pay GBP2/10/- -- GBP3 a month rent to the property owners. For years, since the slum occupation began, the owners have issued rent receipts, overstamped with the words "Illegal Occupation". Just what this means, is not clear, but both sides know habitation in the hovels of Block B is against the law.

    The families, like thousands of coloured people, are drawn to Johannesburg for employment. Between the 150 families, there is not a bathroom or bath house. The lavatories, evil-smelling and unclean, indicates unhealthy sanitary conditions. Communal water taps enable tenants to wash, and electric lights burn in the darkness of tiny rooms, Home-made chimneys belch thick smoke as women tend fires - small protection against the biting winter winds.

    Block B is only one example of shocking slum areas in the rich gold-mining city. Further along the Mein Reef Road, more coloured families are living in disused shacks. At Sopiatown on the outskirts, hundreds who eked out existence in broken-down shacks, are now homeless. Recently their slum homes were demolished by the Council as the area changes colour from "Black to White". A quarter of the township has been razed in a bid for white occupation -- a striking examine of the Government's apartheid policy.

    Social workers claim the position of coloured people in Johannesburg is worse than anywhere else in the country. Areas declared "coloured" are not big enough to accommodate the people. The city's coloured population is 46,000 - a small proportion compared with the total figure. The city council has a waiting list of thousands for coloured housing - but no immediate plans for building.

    South Africa's Government proposes to separate the country into five Black area and one White -- each area enjoying its own political, economic and social institutions. Racial intermingling, they state leads to trouble. But until the proposals become fact people in White areas, are suffering from a segregation and poverty - that can only be alleviated by new and better homes.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Black & White
    Time in/Out:

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