Life in a Township A collection of pictures from the townships (informal settlements) around Cape Town
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.
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.
Township Residents Laugh Smile Tell jokes Play games Cry Yell Show anger Hug Forgive Care Show sympathy Help Dance Live life
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.
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.
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.