The 1930s saw the creation of The Wilds, a simulacrum of “unspoiled veld” in the heart of Johannesburg, and the town of Orlando, the first of many “rationally planned” African townships that would be developed just outside the city. These two different urban operations were alternative manifestations of modernity at a time of rapid economic, social, and physical change. In The Wilds and the Township: Articulating Modernity, Capital, and Socio-nature in the Cityscape of Pre-apartheid Johannesburg, Jeremy Foster argues that the growing consciousness of the cityscape among the white population, a result of the 1936 Johannesburg Empire Exhibition, became intertwined with revisioning the city's environs as a hinterland that was both other and essential to its existence. Within a disorderly cityscape The Wilds and the African township of Orlando articulated a new symbolic relationship between urban culture and regional nature that seemed to resolve the threat of the westernized urban African. This dialectical patterning of socio-nature within the same cityscape naturalized the African population's socio-political segregation and facilitated the operations of the capitalist mining-based urban economy.

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