This introductory chapter presents ethnographic vignettes to demonstrate the institutional inequalities and interpersonal abuses characterizing the lived experiences of youth homelessness in South Africa. These vignettes exhibit how plans of “rehabilitation” essentially equate to evictions and arrests, by means of which poor black youth—deemed unfit for urban citizenship—are expelled from the city center. The chapter also introduces Point Place, a five-story apartment complex located between Durban's beachfront and central business district. In many respects, the youthful occupation of Point Place reflects the shifting demographic of South Africa's inner cities. It reveals the uneasy transitions of the lifting of repressive influx-control laws and the subsequent flight of white residents and capital from the city centers.
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