About 15 km from the city centre is the oldest informal settlement in Cape Town, called Langa and no trip to Cape Town would be complete without a visit here. This multicultural and diverse area offers much for tourists and locals alike from a lekker braai (barbeque) shared with friends to visiting a local tavern and trying some homemade beer. Not just a one-stop-shop for food and drinks, there is much to be learned about South Africa’s past and present. The Langa Pass Museum offers visitors the chance to go back in time to a very different South Africa where many people were affected by the Apartheid regime. This is a truly worthwhile context every person passing through Cape Town should have. A favourite stop in Langa, not to be missed, is always to stop and get a “smiley”, which is half a boiled sheepshead, a classic lunchtime meal in South Africa.
Directly translated means “Sun” but it is actually named after a “rainmaker” called Langalibalele who was imprisoned on Robben Island in 1873.
In 1901 South Africa had a major issue with the Bubonic Plague, and 500 African people were moved to what is known as Langa today by the government of the time. This was common practice in the last century, where most non-white people were moved to live outside of the “white” cities throughout South Africa, but mostly during the 1960s under Apartheid rule. This makes Langa the oldest informal settlement in Cape Town.
In 1960, Langa saw one of its largest marches ever, where nearly 50 000 people gathered to protest against the pass laws of South Africa and several people were killed. This was done in conjunction with the now famous, Sharpeville Massacre.
From the city centre, it’s about 18km’s on the N2 highway, and from the airport it’s about a 10-minute drive.
Langa has become famous for the local braai culture. There are many places to stop and have someone braai your meat for you while enjoying a local beer, the video above shows local ladies cooking up a storm on an open fire, a truly South African scene. Taverns form a massive part of the Langa culture and enjoying beers at a local shebeen is many people’s, visitors and locals, favourite way to enjoy Langa. If you head to Tripadvisor and check out the top restaurants for the whole of Cape Town, the one at the summit is found in Langa and it’s called Mzansi. An unassuming home-cooked meal with traditional African stories and jazz, this is without a doubt one of the best dining experiences available in Cape Town!