The racially segregated suburb of Ndabeni was established in about May 1901 near Maitland,North of Pinelands and some 8 kilometres East of the city centre. . It owes its origins to the outbreak of Bubonic plague in Cape Town on 7 February 1901 when the civil authorities located a field hospital and an isolation camp on a site adjoining the military camp at Uitvlugt. A contact camp was established alongside it in prefabricated buildings purchased from the military. Within a short time this had grown into a full community and sometime in 1902 its name was changed to Ndabeni, a Xhosa word meaning; "place of debate" It was also the nickname given by indigenous people to Sir Walter Stanford, who was prominent in the recognition of indigenous rights in the Cape, and who championed the establishment of a universal franchise at the National Convention in 1909.

This outbreak was not unique to Cape Town, and over the next two years the disease affected the populations of most major southern African towns and cities. Its presence was linked directly to the importation by the British military of Argentinean horses to the Cape during the course of the South African War. Unfortunately their fodder was not properly screened for vermin, and consequently plague-bearing rats were allowed to land at Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and East London. Although the disease was quickly contained, its effects were of a more permanent nature, and the origins of the segregated or "apartheid" city can be traced back to this outbreak. 

By 1920 Ndabeni was overflowing with people. The area was filthy and derelict. In 1926 Ndabeni location was closed. During the course of the removals in District six about 6 000 people were relocated to Ndabeni.
Many historians ascribe the lack of development of a permanent population of Africans in Cape Town to the existence of the Ndabeni location. Previously unemployed men were able to live in town, but  with the establishment of the township came labour supply regulations and pass laws. These regulations forced unemployed men in the city to return to their ‘rural homes’ in the Transkei - the first of the four homelands to be granted independence in 1976.
-33° 55' 48", 18° 28' 26.4"
• Smith V.B., van Heyningen E., Worden N. (1999), Cape Town in the twentieth century, (David Philip), pp.45-46, 87
• Cape Town  site, The First Townships, [online], Available at [Accessed: 26 September 2013]
• Raper E.P (2004), New Dictionary of South African Place Names, (Jonathan Ball), p.267