From mid 1900s until the fall of Apartheid in 1993, the National Party government evicted non-white residents from urban areas and forced them into townships. New communities of non-whites were established on the outskirts of cities for those forcibly removed. This action kept the valuable city center whites only areas, while keeping the non-whites close enough to commute to work.

Strict enforcement of segregation laws meant that separate townships were established for different non-white racial groups: blacks, colored, and Indians.

The townships were overcrowded, houses were poorly built, and many lacked basic services like running water and electricity. These harsh living conditions created strong communities of non-whites determined to end the unfair practices of Apartheid and regain the land that was originally theirs.

Today, townships still exist on the periphery of most major South African cities. Segregated communities are no longer required by law. Some townships, like Soweto, are showing an increase in wealthy residents, and are becoming more developed. Soweto even boasts a 5-star hotel and a major shopping mall. However, substandard living conditions and widespread poverty remains in townships in South Africa.