We were in the middle of Langa Township on the outskirts of Cape Town. Lying in the shadow of Table Mountain, this place is several minutes away from the cosmopolitan city. Under a blue sky dotted with clouds, we walked along with our guide as he explained to us about their history, culture, politics as well as socio economic challenges. It is the oldest township in Cape Town which was established since 1923. Langa means “sun” in the Xhosa language. But the name of the township is actually derived from the name Langalibalele. A famous chief who rebelled against the government and was imprisoned on Robben Is land
Shanties are also built by migrants in the outskirts of Langa. So the area is expanding continously. Not only black South Africans move to the city to seek employment. There is also a huge influx of migrants from other African countries seeking better lives.
Many people still live in abject poverty. Overall, townships can be a depressing place to be. They all represent a bitter legacy of Apartheid. However, I felt a sense of relief upon learning about the improvement of the living condition of its residents. Since Nelson Mandela’s rule, the government has made efforts by improving the township. Such as construction of residential buildings, sport fascilities, clinics, community centers and schools. These people has also been given access to running water and electricity. There are parts of Langa that showed signs of prosperity as well. Brick houses with satellite dishes that are obviously home to middle class people.
It was great to see a different side of Cape Town. Although the people are so friendly & welcoming, there certain areas that are still unsafe. It was not a good idea to wander in the townships alone. Fortunately, Sam’s Cultural Tours made it possible for us.
Here are some photos taken in Langa.