South Africa and ICASA - Part 3

26/11/2010

Cape Care Route – Cape Town Townships

We tried to learn more about the heart and soul of South African people. Searching the internet we found the Cape Capers organization: www.tourcapers.co.za

In their leaflet they describe one of their tours, the Cape Care Route: “Juxtaposed against the backdrop of Table Mountain and our Two Oceans is a sprawling reality of our townships, which are a crucible of the world’s most pressing problem. Emerging out of these harsh circumstances are the inspiring examples of hope”

We were lucky to have a very dedicated tour guide: Charlotte. She told us about the townships, about the projects, about her drive to get away from the negative stories related to her country and to the townships. “I want to tell about how people in the communities care for each other. Although many of them are very very poor, there is in most of the people a very positive attitude”.

What we saw today was incredible. Millions of people are living in the townships under extremely difficult circumstances. We visited several townships, and a lot of very different projects.

   

We visited the Victoria Mxenge project in one of the Townships where mainly women build houses for their families.

Khayelitsha is the biggest Township with endless sandy roads with shacks as houses. We visited the SANCA (drug and alcohol) service at Khayelitsha, where again with very little staff many people are being served.

We saw Golden in a tiny house in Khayelitsha fulfilling his dream: Making a living in making and selling flowers. Out of trash-metal (cans etcetera) he makes beautiful flowers.
We visited the Guguletu Township Catholic Welfare Development (CWD) project. Apart from many projects we saw a workshop for the “Brothers for Life” project. In this workshop young people are taught how to be a good role model for younger men in the community.

We also went to the Abalimi Bezakhaya, the people’s garden center. Here people can learn how to grow their own vegetables, so they can produce food for themselves and sell what they do not need.

We visited the Guga S’Tebe Arts and Community Center in Langa Township, where artist make and sell their art, like drawings, metal works, a pottery workshop providing training and job-placement opportunities. Young boys were making music together on traditional percussion instruments and huge wooden xylophones.

And finally we did a walking tour through the heart of Langa Township. A young woman who lived in a shack in Langa, and who worked at the Community Center guided us. She showed us some of the houses and shacks that people live in.

She mentioned how important it is that the people in the townships now, after the Apartheid, are finally free. They are free to join their families, they are free to go wherever they want. Now there is the opportunity for most children to go to school. So apart from a lot of problems, of which poverty, HIV, crime and substance abuse are the most severe ones, there is a huge potential of human spirit and capacities in the Township areas.

   

At the end of the day we had a talk with Faizal, the director of Cape Capers. He had fought against apartheid and had suffered in many ways from apartheid. But he is also very optimistic. He also is aware of the pain that is in the history but more important in the heart and soul of so many people in South Africa.
Better knowledge and understanding of the problems needs true understanding of what is going on, it needs practice oriented projects like we visited today, and it needs science for medical and social oriented problems like HIV/AIDS, crime and substance abuse.

I am convinced today’s tour helps me in understanding a bit more about South Africa. I would highly recommend every tourist but also people who want to collaborate with South African professionals, and who are not familiar with South African history and society, to do a tour in the townships. The Cape Care Tour of Cape Capers was beyond our expectations!

 

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