Do you know Khayelitsha?

Today I went on a tour to Khayelitsha. It is one of the largest townships in South Africa and is situated on the suburbs of Cape Town. Khayelitsha stands in iXhosa for “New Home”.  Around  400.000 people lived there in 2011, thereof approx. 98% black people (I didn’t count yesterday – I googled).

I had a very authentic guide – Matanzima who used to live here and still has a house in this township. So far I had only passed by townships in a car and always thought how can people live there. Today I faced reality and was part of it for two hours. Khayelitsha stretches out enormously and I was happy to have Matanzima with me. Otherwise I would have been lost.

Khaelitsha from the look-out post

Khayelitsha has got a lot of different faces. There is hope, there is creativity but some pretty desperate areas as well. Have a look for yourself:

Speaks for itself
Hub for start-ups
First B&B in Khayelitsha – run by Those Lekau

I especially like Those’s approach – the first B&B in Khayelitsha. She calls it the “cake philosophy”. Nobody bakes a cake for herself and nobody eats a cake alone. She studied the B&B business very carefully, started her B&B and soon taught others as well how to do it. A German TV station has broadcasted her already and she shared her experiences in Australia. A wonderful example for taking on responsibility and get started!
We went to Matanzima’s house and met his younger brother who lives next door.

In front of Matanzima’s house with his brother

I was invited for dinner as well, but I could resist ….


A braai place
The menu for today

At around sixth o’clock we stood at a very busy corner and I asked Matanzima when the traffic would calm down and Khayelitsha would become a more quiet place. The answer was straightforward: at around 9 o’clock and he looked a bit puzzled. “What’s on your mind?” I continued my search for meaning. “Well”, he added, “it becomes quieter but dangerous as well. There are gangs operating and I wouldn’t advise people to walk around.”
At this point I stopped asking and we went back to Camphill which is the heaven on earth compared to Khayelitsha.


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