Political opposition in patriarchal East London
East London | Duncan Village | paternalism | patriarchalism | Native Advisory Boards | African National Congress (ANC) | Verwoerdianism
This paper describes the growing level of politicization in East London in the 1950s, and
the way this affected the patriarchal normative system, which prevailed in urban
administration. Patriarchalism, as a system, was susceptible of different interpretations by
white municipal officials, and their response to black political opposition ranged from
liberal forbearance to rigid and uncompromising intolerance. Black leaders’ attitudes to the
patriarchal order were similarly nuanced. The Location Native Advisory Boards vacillated
between opposition to the white patriarchal order and compliance with it. Towards the late
1950s, the political climate became ever more polarized. The paper draws on archival
sources from East London to show that patriarchalism, as a moral system, was sufficiently
robust to accommodate a variety of viewpoints, within the white and black communities.
But as violent resistance took its toll during the 1950s, more coercive forms of paternalism
came increasingly to the fore.