Day Forty-Five – Township Tour

This morning I went on a township tour with Imzu Tours. We toured Langa Township and Khayelitsha Township. Langa was created by the Apartheid government, while Khayelitsha was created by the post-Apartheid [modern] government; yet, they are of a kind. There are relatively nice concrete two and three storey apartments side by side with container homes, sheet metal shanties and filled only with black people.

This little boy ran up and ASKED us to take a photo of him. And then struck this pose, Zoolander lips and all.

This door leads into the historical Women’s Quarters, where women were kept (separate from men to further reduce their humanity by not honouring marriages etc) before 1924. Today it is a set of nine rooms, with a communal area video’d below.

Spent hens for butcher. Inhumane accommodations, though I suppose it’s hard to expect better for chickens than the humans have.

Brewing for her shanty bar. It’s sold by the 5L pail for 3CAD and pails are shared around the circle of men inside the shanty.

The nice concrete buildings are built by the modern government and theoretically there will be enough built for everyone. But this was promised 24 years ago.. so no one is holding their breath. I hope.

Segregation continues today, except instead of passes and checkpoints, wealth (or lack there of) and racism (in all directions) keep each group in their designated spaces.

Some notes: education and healthcare are free, though of course the public stream is underfunded and over-crowded. Unemployment in Langa is 80%, population 60K; 60% of 2.5million in Khayelitsha.

All the township tours include a “tour” around community craft shops, which is essentially a funnelled shopping trip. I appreciated that ours was only about 10% of the tour time, the rest was spent walking about, a bit of history, seeing the common areas of some communal housing, going into a bar (drinking shack) and talking/asking questions. Our guide, Lee, was not shy about answering questions, which was nice. I’ve heard that other tour companies include a visit to District Six Museum, and I was ready to judge our tour badly for this omission. I’m not sure, however, that there is anything I would have omitted from our tour to make space for the museum. Even the shopping part, which annoys me on principal, I am grateful for, because I picked up two beautiful sand paintings. And I have to admit, the shopping part, in the community projects building, is probably beneficial to the community. Each artist gets their stall and work space for free, including electricity and water, provided they mentor any children that are interested in their craft – whether the children go on to use the art to support themselves in the future is neither here nor there. Learning a craft, doing something artistic outside of school and having a mentor, can never be a waste.

#melissasopinion <<< available all over this post!

The evening was spent eating lovely food in Camps Bay and walking up the waterfront until Seapoint.


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