Langa Township

by Andrew Stein

Opposite of many other large cities, in the core of the Cape Town dwells the wealthy, and the “suburbs” are where the poor reside within townships.  As part of the school’s immersion program, we spend an afternoon having lunch at and visiting one such township, the Langa Township.

Langa Township boys

Much of what we see there could be expected, but there are a couple surprises that I want to share.  First, within the township, there are a variety of socioeconomic classes displayed.  There are the large families who live in overcrowded, small tin houses juxtaposed to the smaller families enjoying fenced-in, cleaner-looking homes.

The second surprise for me is that regardless of where and how a family lived, many are in possession of seemingly luxurious goods such as nice televisions, stereos, phones, refrigerators, and even cars.  Anything in need of electricity is powered with stolen electricity off the power lines.

Langa Township woman

Finally, the last idea that I struggle with while touring this township is the fact that these families are opening up their homes to let foreigners like us photograph their lives.  They do receive monetary compensation for doing so; however, it still feels very intrusive and uncomfortable.