Somewhat a sobering slap in the face for some, a visit to the Cape Town township of Khayelitsha with Juma is an enlightening look at what apartheid has done to this country. This is not an obnoxious people-in-the-zoo experience, but a heart-warming excursion into the difference that one creative and artistic man is making for his people. A well-respected member of the Khayelitsha community, Juma gives you insights into the plights of many and how entrepreneurism is very much alive and well amidst the slum of tin and wood makeshift sheds with colourful splashes of paint and green veggie gardens.
You will see the young getting creative with such businesses as a cafe with amazing espresso coffee sitting in a garage by day, and then at night everything is packed up and the car is returned to its haven. There are organic market gardens sprouting and gift shops selling intricately created keep sakes. You may have the quirky experience of sitting in a shipping container that has magically become a food take-away venue facing a plate put before you of barbecued chicken and mealie-meal, a traditional Zimbabwean mainstay. Not exactly what you are used to as fine dining and definitely not the venue for a long lazy lunch, but totally worth the somewhat humbling experience.
This tour is in stark contrast to that of meandering around Woodstock, but it wears the same face of stories to tell and creates smiles when you see the brightly painted childlike pictures on the houses, container created shops or blank rough walls. You get to mingle and interact with the locals by not just sitting in a mini-tour van, but roaming on foot around the quirkily painted homes with their vegetable gardens proudly sitting beside them. Juma has the knack of getting tourists, not just credible artists, to spend days with him dotting vibrant pictures on homes, in exchange for him providing the householder with manure, seedlings and the know-how to create their very own vegetable gardens.
Khayelitsha may very well be the home of the hotel maid, the cook or the person you pass in the streets of Cape Town. Sitting about half an hour away from the tourist hub of Cape Town via the notorious N2 Highway, which whispers have it that you should never drive after dark, is the high crime area of Khayelitsha.
This is the largest black township with the youngest population on the Cape Flats. It is now struggling to become known for its tourism efforts, social developments and entrepreneurial spirit rather than the burning of buses or tyres on the highway. The township is a diverse mixture of culture and the people are friendly and welcoming. A walk around witnessing their everyday lives is an eye opening experience that will linger long after you leave the country.
The township has an overwhelming 2.4 million people of whom 90 percent are Black African, with fewer than seven percent of its residents being over 50 years old and a whopping 40 percent under 19. One of the poorest areas of Cape Town, more than half live in "informal" huts.
The others live in a combination of 1980s square boxes or more recent low-cost RDP (Redevelopment and Construction Program) homes. Established in 1985 as the answer to housing the increasing black population, people were forcefully relocated to Khayelitsha, which has now grown to about 22 different areas dominated by the different housing. Today, one in three people who live in the rambling shacks have to walk 200 meters or more to access water.
Juma with his open smile and vast local knowledge is the face of the growing numbers of out-of-the-box thinkers. He is willing to discuss the burden of the problems faced by his people in Khayelitsha without hype or sensationalism, but merely as a matter of fact.
To book Juma's Walking tours, either in Woodstock or in Khayelitsha, jump onto this website: http://townshiparttours.co.za, send him an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: +27 73 400 4064 with any enquiries.