The heart of a city is usually found in the city centre, but not Cape Town. If you travel about 20 kilometres outside of Cape Town, you will find the heart of our city, Khayelitsha. Khayelitsha is the largest township in Cape Town and is home to more of the working class locals than anywhere else. The name Khayelitsha means “new home” and is where many non-white South Africans were moved to by the Apartheid Government in 1985.
Today Khayelitsha is the home of entrepreneurial spirit. This is evident when visiting the main streets which are lined with containers used for people to promote their businesses. The hive of activity in the streets is something to behold, and there is always a buzz around the area. From car washes to hair salons, and everything in between, the sheer number of people trying something new and interesting is always fun to see and experience. Just take a look at Khayelitsha’s own wine brand. Any person visiting Khayelitsha must try some Magwinya, which is just bread dough fried in oil, but tastes way better than it sounds!
A popular and fun activity when visiting the area is to visit a local shebeen (pub) or braai at a local spot. Braai is South Africa’s word for barbeque, and you can always buy beer and have meat cooked for you fresh on the fire while enjoying the place with friends and family. There is always a sense of community when visiting Khayelitsha.
A sobering fact of living in Cape Town is facing the fact that gangsterism does play a part living in this city. Many of the less fortunate are affected by gangs in Cape Town, and there is now a museum for visitors to learn more about this previously lesser-known side of the city. Visitors can engage with former gang members and are able to learn and ask questions about gangsterism in Cape Town. They have also built a jail cell for the guests to see how living in jail in South Africa would be like. This is an eye-opening experience for anybody visiting Cape Town.
The most interesting part of Khayelitsha to a visitor might be the architecture found here. The reason for this is that many of the homes were rural development plan houses, meaning they were built by the Government of South Africa post-1994 for the residents. Today many of the residents have altered and changed these houses all originally built in one style. It is fascinating to drive or walk around and see all the inventive ways that people have changed their houses to suit their lifestyles.