South Africa Day 13 (part 1): Township Tour

We were picked up from our hotel by the two guides, who were to accompany us to the Langa Township, where they still live. After an initial introduction on the history of townships, we were taken to the District Six Museum, where we had time to learn of the displacement of a thriving community during the apartheid regime. From there we drove to the Langa Township, where we visited accommodation that had originally been built as a hostel for men but now also contains whole families. It is often a tight squeeze, with belongings stored on makeshift shelving under the ceiling and beds taking up most of the floor space. Cooking is done in a communal kitchen. In spite of the cramped space the rooms were kept clean. We next visited a kindergarten. The young children sang to us and there were some solo dance routines. The children were given balloons and one of our group spent some time blowing the balloons up, much to the delight of the children. Some of the township inhabitants are professionals, who wanted to stay where they had been brought up. They have built attractive modern houses, which seemed at odds with the shacks nearby. We were invited into one of the shacks, which was used as a pub. The women were brewing a special beer, which we were invited to try. It was passed around in a large tin, with everyone expected to take a sip.