The streets of Salisbury (Harare) circa 1910

ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: Zimbabwe 1894-1969: Living Conditions in Urban Areas in Rhodesia

  • Rapid population growth in urban areas led to deterioration of living condition in urban areas
  • Urban workers either lived in compounds provided by their employers or in locations that were run by municipalities
  • These locations were overcrowded with as many as eight people per room
  • Health standards were also very poor with venereal diseases such as gonorrhea and syphilis being common
  • Other diseases which began to spread quickly were bilharzia, tuberculosis and hookworms
  • African were also subjected to harassment such as:
    1. They had to be employed
    2. Their visitors could not stay in the location for more than 12 hours
    3. A permit to stay in the location was to be bought by visitors
    4. No one could go out of the location after 9 pm
    5. It was a punishable offense to let your room to get dirty
    6. The police could enter and search the natives rooms at any time
    7. No one was allowed to run a business in the locations
  • The locations had no other buildings such as churches, shops or clinics except for a municipal beerhall
  • The problem in urban areas were partly resolved by the Native(Urban Areas) Accommodation and Registration Act of 1946
  • It stipulated that employers had to register their employees and provide them with accommodation or pay levies to the municipalities

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