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Township Life


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  • 1. Life in a Township
    A collection of pictures from the townships (informal settlements) around Cape Town
  • 2. Township Facts
    Population of Townships 8-10 million (about twice the population of Minnesota)
    Total population of South Africa 40 million
    Largest township is Khayelitsha with an estimated 1,000,000 people.
    Khayelitshaand Guguletu (population 350,000) are next to one another. Many of these pictures were taken in these two areas.
  • 3. Things to observe
    People work hard to earn a living
    Township residents try to make the best out of their circumstances. They work hard to improve their lives.
    Townships are homemade cities with as many modern conveniences as possible. What they don’t have they create on their own.
    Most shacks do not have running water or bathroom facilities. Sanitation is a major problem.
  • 4. Township Residents
    Tell jokes
    Play games
    Show anger
    Show sympathy
    Live life
  • 5. Water TapUsually 1 for every 10 homes
  • 6. Danceline Members
  • 7. Fast Friends
  • 8. Home from School….notice the uniforms! All schools we saw required uniforms!
  • 9. Shacks
    Remember, these are people’s homes. They are constructed with whatever they can find.
  • 10. Homes
  • 11.
  • 12.
  • 13. Each house contains an average of 4 people
  • 14. Each Shack needs an identification number
  • 15. Some constructions are on top of one another, making 2 story shacks
  • 16. Color helps identify ownership
  • 17.
  • 18. Notice the power lines. Because many residents cannot afford electricity, they tap into the main power lines illegally. Laws against the practice are not enforced.
  • 19.
  • 20. Waterproofing is a problem. When it rains hard, homes are easily flooded.
  • 21. Some shacks are metal sheds.
  • 22. Others are completely made of wood
  • 23.
  • 24.
  • 25. The government is issuing housing as a reparation for apartheid. Residents are put on a waiting list to get a brick home. The average wait period for a house is five to ten years.
  • 26. These homes are uniform in shape and floorplan. Residents personalize their homes with decor.
  • 27. Townships go for miles with a mix of brick houses, hostels, shacks, and shops.
  • 28.
  • 29. Do you recognize these?
  • 30. Shell Gas Station
  • 31. Look Familiar?
  • 32. Shopping mall. Yes, it looks very much like malls in the U.S.!
  • 33. Medical Help
  • 34. Local Clinic
  • 35. Private Clinic
  • 36. Traditional HealerBecause Western medicine is associated with “white man,” it is distrusted. So many residents turn to traditional healers, or sangomas, who use roots, herbs and other natural substances to help the patient.
  • 37. Schools
  • 38. College campuses are vocational schools. This one is in the middle of the township of Guguletu.
  • 39. School yard
  • 40. Primary School
  • 41. Primary School(Notice the fence!)
  • 42.
  • 43. Creative ways of making a living
  • 44. Entrepreneurial Spirit
  • 45. Vegetable Stand
  • 46. Shoe Repair/Cell Phone Repair
  • 47. Barber
  • 48. Barber – Cell Phones
  • 49. Fruits and Vegetables
  • 50. Wood for Homes
  • 51. Hardware Store
  • 52. Repairing Homes
  • 53. Wall Art
  • 54. Please keep in mind:
    Most people want out of the townships, but discrimination, lack of education, and lack of employment opportunities prohibit this from happening.
    People try to make the best of their situation by working hard, getting an education and hoping that employment becomes available to pay a living wage.
  • 55. Community
    There is a thriving sense of community in the townships.
    Because privacy is challenged, people know intimately what is happening in their neighbors’ lives. There are friendships and cliques, hard feelings and envy.
    Even so, one who has very little is often assisted by neighbors who also have very little.
    Residents share a common sense of struggle.