chapter  7
The 1938 Johannesburg ‘Town Planning Exhibition and Congress’: Testament, Monument and Indictment
ByAlan Mabin, Mark Oranje
Pages 14

By the 1930s most of what would shape South Africa for the rest of the twentieth century had surfaced: rural dispossession, rapid urbanisation, segregation, mass unemployment, and dreadful housing conditions, coupled with industrialisation and rapid growth in a volatile political context (see Callinicos 1987, Davenport 1989, Oranje 1998). Yet, it was also the setting for a spurt of idealism – a belief that it was possible to grasp the challenges and achieve a modern miracle (Oranje 1998). In this complex stew, rich with hope and belief in the power of human agency, but also dogged by anger, fear and jealousy, came the exhibition of 1938 (Mabin and Smit 1997, Oranje 1998, Parnell and Mabin 1995).