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Relocations resulting from forced removals, during the implementation of the Group Areas Act (GAA) of 1950, have had profound implications on the ways in which South Africans see themselves today influencing both insular identities and broader notions of citizenship. This paper focuses specifically on Indian Municipal employees of the Durban Corporation (DC) who were removed from the Durban Municipal Magazine Barracks (henceforth Magazine Barracks) and resettled in Chatsworth, by examining the meaning of ‘Magazine Barracks’ on its former residents today, almost six decades after its destruction. Although the Magazine Barracks was established for the capitalist motives of the DC to house a cheap and manageable labour force, residents responded to circumstances imposed upon them by creating a unique lifestyle within the Magazine Barracks, which they revere today. They gave names to areas which comprised the Magazine Barracks and took advantage of their overcrowded living conditions to create notions of closeness through religious and cultural institutions, and produced a rich sporting and academic heritage. When the Magazine Barracks was destroyed by the GAA, residents similarly responded to structural forces imposed upon them in unique ways and examining this history provides valuable insight into how the past is negotiated in the present to shape identity.
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