LANGA TOWNSHIP:APARTHEID TOURISM

Langa is a township just outside of Cape Town that was once districted for the black community during apartheid. Today it still resembles its apartheid appearance containing many makeshift houses like a shantytown and many impoverished black South Africans. Our trip to Langa was a group experience, but on so many levels it was a personal experience for each one of us. Our guide Godfrey was born and raised here in Langa and was quick to remind us that although the conditions in this town were difficult for so many people, these conditions would not wither their ambitions. As we interacted with the kids, the artists, and the townspeople this fact became very apparent to us. Throughout the city every person we saw had a welcoming smile. They complained about nothing and enjoyed the things life has to offer. As we shared umqombothi (African beer made of maize) in a small shack we were encouraged to ask questions about people’s life and culture. It became very clear to us as a group that although apartheid has ended, deep group distinctions still survive. As Godfrey put it, “it is not a forced separation any longer but a chosen distinction that arises when cultural groups have been separated for so long that people now choose to be surrounded by their own identity group than by theother.” This is the current challenge for the African National Congress as the political party in power. As people demand improvements in Langa, the government is failing to respond. This culminated in the protests in Langa last July when streets were barricaded to gain the governments attention

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LOCAL LANGA ART AND CRAFTS FOR SALE TO TOURISTS

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COMMUNITY ART CENTER IN LANGA

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LOCAL SURGERY UNIT

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CHILDRENS ART WORK DECORATES THE SCHOO, WITH VIBRANT COLOR

 

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ECU STUDENT INTERACTS WITH A LANGA ORPHAN

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LOCAL LANGA STORE

 

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Our communal beverage. The silver pail held around a gallon of millet beer and was offered to the guests first. But our gracious hosts insisted and with two hands firmly clasped on the bucket.

 

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