A look at the slums and crime in Cape Town – South Africa

For over three centuries, there was white rule in black South Africa. A racist regime that kept the black population in the country under the fist of an “elite” white minority. A regime that made South Africa the most unequal society in the world.

Almost three decades have passed since the fall of apartheid and the attempts of the democratic government today to erase its legacy and the legacy of colonialism, do not succeed in reducing the imbalance created between the rich and the poor and the reality in the slums and crime on the outskirts of the country’s major cities has not changed.

Cape Town, the second largest city in South Africa, has the largest gap in the world between the rich and the poor.

The second past of the cellophane

I went on a trip to South Africa with my teenage son, as mother-son quality time. We started in Cape Town and were fascinated by its beauty. From the fact that it is surrounded by a natural amphitheater of mountain cliffs that are a sketchy ground for almost constant cloud cover. From the picturesque beaches on the shore of the ocean, from the affluent neighborhoods and the luxurious houses and the culinary wealth.

We were also excited by its proximity to the powerful meeting between the two oceans, the Indian and the Atlantic, and the southernmost point in Africa at the Cape of Good Hope.

However, in the corner of the eye, on the outskirts of the city, a completely different sight was revealed to us. A show that violated my ability to meet Cape Town only through pink cellophane.

From the other side of the cellophane we discovered an unending density of black lives, literally, in an almost imaginary reality.

Patches of slums crowded with tiny shanty houses. In unbearable living conditions of the lack of connection to the infrastructure of water and sewage. When pirate electric wires connect the houses to electric wires running along the city’s highways.

From the other side of the cellophane we discovered an unending density of black lives, literally, in an almost imaginary reality.

These neighborhoods, known as “townships”, began their journey when the white man arrived in South Africa. As a matter of fact, he alienated and isolated the black population, and this also through force and violence.

In these neighborhoods in Cape Town, more than a million and a half residents continue to live today, who are removed from an equal system of education and jobs that would allow them to escape the cycle of poverty. Despite the unbearable overcrowding, they continue to take in more and more people who also come from outside South Africa, from poorer neighboring countries. People who want to try their luck and get closer to the meat and rice pot.

I could not look at them at a speed of 90 km/h from the autostrada. Pass by them and not let the other reality touch me. It became clear to me that I would do anything to succeed in entering them.

This desire has become an arduous and almost impossible task. The locals claimed that after the corona epidemic, the poverty situation worsened and so did the level of crime. None of them agreed to cooperate and get us a local guide to take us inside. We claimed that in the past tours were made there, but these became dangerous and were stopped.

The harder it was for me to succeed in getting there, the more the desire and stubborn struggle burned in me. I wanted to meet the families living there. to chat with them. To get to know the stories of life so that they will not be trapped in the alleys and among the garbage mountains and buried in the mud paths forever.

I was looking for someone who was born and lives in one of these neighborhoods, in order to lead us but also protect and guard us.

with Theo

Close to midnight, on our last night in Cape Town, Theo responded to the message I left on his cell phone.

Theo was born in the Gogleto neighbourhood, one of the three slums of Cape Town. He is 40 years old. Single and still lives with his parents in the tin house where he was born. The Corona period overwhelmed him. He did not work for three years and lost his car and his dream of getting out of there. Despite the fear of approaching there with our rental car, we arranged to meet the next morning and that I would drive.

At first, I wanted my son, Noah, to stay at the hotel. I preferred that he not come. I feared for his safety. And a little to mine too. He didn’t agree that I would go out there alone.

Early in the morning we looked for a local supermarket. We bought sacks of rice, corn and beans. We also bought biscuits and oranges for the children. 90% of the families living here suffer from malnutrition and hunger. 70% of them are unemployed and live in tin houses (“shacks”).

Kailisha, Langa and Gogaltu

We set off, to Kailisha. to the largest neighborhood of the three. I couldn’t help but chuckle sarcastically at the name Kailisha – which means “new house” in the Cohoho language. Kailisha is about thirty kilometers from Cape Town at their end, an overhead bridge leads from the freeway to the neighborhood. We stopped at the edge of the bridge stunned by the sight. Shocked by the endless expanses of the density of colorful shacks.

About half a million residents live in Kailisha, crowded into an area of ​​only 26 square kilometers. The population density here is one of the highest in the world – about ten thousand people per square kilometer. The average income per month for a family! It is 155 dollars. More than half of a family’s household lives in the city.

When we entered the neighborhood, we discovered that as soon as we slowed down, men appeared at us like ghosts from all corners at once. They approached us running. Theo was frightened and asked us to continue the journey. Even when I stopped at a red light, he shouted – Go! and so it was. We discovered that we actually don’t dare to stop in the neighborhood.

We tried our best to “Langa” (the meaning of the name: sun), the first neighborhood established for the black population that was isolated and taken out of Cape Town. Most of the population of the neighborhood belong to the Khahosa tribe. Here by Theo’s side, we already felt safer getting out of the car and wandering through the alleys. We even tried to enter the shacks. I introduced myself as a reporter and photographer and we were welcomed inside. We entered dark and dark houses. A coal barrel heated the space of the house, which did not exceed five square meters. The small space was filled by a bed, above it were wooden shelves and an electric stove in the corner. The toilets are outside the tin houses and are used as public and shared toilets. A truck empties them only once a week. Many residents have to walk about 200 a meter or more to reach a source of water. This is why they are allowed to live there without paying rent. The families who have managed to build themselves brick houses, get the infrastructure of water, sewage and electricity and also pay rent.

In the Langa neighborhood, an attempt was recently made by the government to build improved infrastructure and a center for local arts and crafts as a place of employment and as a tourist center that presents a flag for new winds of change. It is also easier to get here as a tourist.

The Gogalto neighborhood, near Cape Town’s international airport, has become the most dangerous since the outbreak of the corona virus. We were able to enter it thanks to the fact that Theo lives in the neighborhood. Theo told us that nowhere in the world does the AIDS virus spread faster than in these neighborhoods.

Theo helped us get closer to people. First he let us into the homes of his family and neighbors and from there the doors of other homes were opened for us. Doors of the heart were also opened. The residents wanted to share and tell us about their lives and talk about the difficulties.

Bassa is Theo’s sister. Bakes a local pastry every morning and sells it in the yard of the elementary school. She had to move there after her divorce. Her children stayed to live with the father. Her tin house is 3 square meters, crammed with a bed, a small cupboard and a gas stove. She lives there with her cousin. She told about the nights when she didn’t close an eye for fear of the groups of drunken men who pass through the neighborhood and do whatever they want with women.

The shaman of the neighborhood

The shaman of the neighborhood

Palermo

Palmera has lived here for twenty years since her wedding. She goes to the meat factory every morning. Collects all the internal parts and leftovers that are thrown in the trash and sells them in the neighborhood. Her tin house is in the swamp area. Her two children were playing outside and were electrocuted to death by an electrical cord that touched the puddles of water.

Palmera introduced us to the shaman who lived in front of her house. She ran to her in an attempt to save them.

All the members of the neighborhood come to the shamanist. This is the neighborhood clinic. There is not a single chemical drug, syringe or plaster in it. It has a yard full of turtles which are considered to bring luck and longevity. Here she appeals for the neighbors to their deceased ancestors and tries to appease their turbulent spirit, which continues to harm the lives of their loved ones.

We met laughing children, plump and loud women around tubs and washing clothes by hand, laughing and flowing content with a captivating African rhythm. We met community life and cordial neighborliness. An exciting human collage. The fear of wandering here subsided and I was happy that Noah joined me. I wanted him by my side. May he experience and know how to appreciate. May he learn to see another world that exists here. that we all know him. We will expand awareness of it and maybe that way a faster and more significant change will be able to take place here.

Palmera has lived here for twenty years since her wedding.  She goes to the meat factory every morning.  Collects all the internal parts and leftovers that are thrown in the trash and sells them in the neighborhood

Palmera has lived here for twenty years since her wedding. She goes to the meat factory every morning. Collects all the internal parts and leftovers that are thrown in the trash and sells them in the neighborhood

A local hairdresser

A local hairdresser

Palmera introduced us to the shaman who lived in front of her house.  She ran to her in an attempt to save her children

Palmera introduced us to the shaman who lived in front of her house. She ran to her in an attempt to save her children

——————
Limor Sde-Chen Tzdok – Phototherapist, Lacanian psychoanalyst and movement, expression and creation therapist. lecturer. An experienced and internationally certified photographer and tour guide. Specializing in tour guiding in Southeast Asia since 1991.
Facebook
Instagram – zadoklimor


Source: כתבות – מסע אחר by www.masa.co.il.

*The article has been translated based on the content of כתבות – מסע אחר by www.masa.co.il. If there is any problem regarding the content, copyright, please leave a report below the article. We will try to process as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the author. Thank you very much!

*We just want readers to access information more quickly and easily with other multilingual content, instead of information only available in a certain language.

*We always respect the copyright of the content of the author and always include the original link of the source article.If the author disagrees, just leave the report below the article, the article will be edited or deleted at the request of the author. Thanks very much! Best regards!