Constructing and De-constructing Communities: Tales of Urban Injustice and Resistance in Brazil and South Africa


This article considers the parallels between the community of Lady Selborne, a township near Pretoria, South Africa, and the neighbourhood of Cidade de Deus (City of God) in Rio de Janeiro. One case involves the destruction of a community, the other the construction of a community. Yet together they offer crucial insights on urban history and new ways of looking at urban injustice. In both cases, influence, inequality, and community action play important roles. Neither narrative has a happy ending, but they may provide material support for new struggles.