30 November 1983
Galeshewe Township inaugurated as the first black controlled municipality in South Africa.
DID YOU KNOW
Control of Galeshewe Township was taken over by the Bantu Administration Board of the Diamond Fields from the Kimberley Council on August 1 1973. The Diamond Fields Advertiser of May 5 1976 reported that “slums” in the township were a problem with at least 9 or 10 people living in a four-roomed house. This problem was only because of the lack of suitable housing and the ongoing problem of unemployment. Apartheid was in full force and the residents of townships such as Galeshewe had to put up with not only inferior housing, but poor road infrastructure, second rate education, low wages when employed, second rate transport system, and the infamous pass system. The bucket latrine system was being phased out. Time was running out for apartheid in that year, and in June 1976 the Soweto Township outside Johannesburg erupted. Tensions ran high in all Kimberley townships.
On November 30 1983 the Municipality of Galeshewe was inaugurated as the first black controlled town in South Africa, albeit it a “banana republic” venture under the rule of apartheid. TW Nyati was the mayor and Sholo Samuel Phakedi his deputy. In fact, since January 2 1978, the Community Board had governed the township for Galeshewe.
The population of the township in 1985, according to a report by the Galeshewe town council, was 81202, and made up of 10110 families. There were 10327 residential sites, of which 9525 were still being developed. This means that only about 1000 sites were developed at the time, so the balance of the families were indeed living in squalor.
There were 10 creche sites (5 developed), 68 parks (4 developed), 71 business sites (64 developed), 54 church sites (12 developed), and 30 school sites. Of the schools there were 22 primary and 8 secondary, plus one college.
In 1988 there were several new suburbs making up Greater Galeshewe. No 2 was still there, but there was also Ikageng (Redirile, and referred to as Stocks and Stocks), Ikageleng, Retswele, KwaNobantu, Zone Six (Extension Six), Ipeleng, and Vergenoeg.
This new Galeshewe Council drafted a master plan to provide for all needs of the town up until 2000, but the implementation of democracy in 1994 saw the end of the council as such. However, the township was high on the priority of the new council for Kimberley – Galeshewe came back into the mainstream of the Kimberley municipality – and work began virtually immediately on upgrading.
Pictured are some Galeshewe sights