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Overview: 5 of 5 stars - do not miss! We took a 4 hour tour with Sam's Cultural Tours, for R280 pp, including visits to the District Six Museum, a shebeen, a dormitory, a sangoma, a crèche and a carpet-weaving project for mothers.
The tour started and ended at our hostel in Cape Town (they pick up and drop off at your hotel).
Tip Tip: do not go into townships without a local or tour group to guide you, otherwise they are dangerous places.
Satellite Photo: See this satellite map of the Cape Town area with pushpins and then zoom in at least once.
Details: We were fortunate to have the very friendly and knowledgeable Sam himself lead our tour. He still lives in his hometown Langa Township, though he is clearly better off than most people in the townships; this has the benefit of him still having strong connections that make the tour more rewarding. And it was not crowded to boot, just another couple and us in the minivan (though a second minivan with more people "joined" us later on).
District Six Museum 1st stop: the District Six Museum close to downtown, which has lots of info, historical pictures and displays. Also, on the museum floor there is a huge map of the district and the outrageous "resettlement" (to clear the area for Whites) that had occurred here. The map invites displaced persons (or their descendants) to mark their former home locations. In fact, most of the area is currently undeveloped, though there are a few businesses and a school, which is causing problems for the government making compensatory payments. Sam gave us a quick overview before leaving us to look around for 30 minutes (we could have used more time, it was very interesting).
Then we drove to Langa Township, which is still Sam's hometown. There is quite a mix of old and new housing, including some very nice new bungalows with fences and gated driveways protecting nice new cars.
Houses never seem to be big enough though, and even on new small houses built by the government, people build junky shacks of scrap metal in order to have more room.
The government has quite the task to provide sufficient housing: the main problems being
a) the townships are incredibly crowded, so to where do you relocate people temporarily while building new housing in the township
b) people don't want to leave the townships, as it is their home/neighbourhood.
Shebeen 2nd stop: in Langa Township, we visited a shebeen, which is a drinking hole, usually run by a woman, offering cheap homemade beer (which tasted better than the banana beer in Tanzania). This "establishment" had a leaky tin roof, dirt floors and small stools and benches to sit on (though some shebeens to be located in "real" buildings too). Even though it was still mid-morning, there were about a half dozen patrons.
Dormitory 3rd stop: a dormitory (a former hostel, in the old sense of the word: living quarters for migrant workers, usually men). This one had 4 rooms, each with 2-3 beds and 1 family per bed, plus one shared bathroom and a shared kitchen. Th kitchen had a paraffin wax stove, creating black soot), and the prepaid electricity was not turned on as it is too expensive. Yet the people there were friendly and smiling!
Sangoma\'s Hut 4th stop: a sangoma, a traditional healer (think witch doctor). Unfortunately the healer himself was not in, but we explored his shack full of creepy dried animals and stuff. Sam explained that a sangoma is born - it is not a profession one chooses.

Then we drove through Gugulethu Township, a coloured neighbourhood where even the police don't like to go, on our way to Khayelitsha Township. We also passed by the Trojan Horse Memorial, in honour of 3 youths gunned downed by police.
Crèche 5th stop: a crèche, which is a nursery/primary school. This one was built primarily from proceeds of Sam's township tours (wow!), and was full of happy, screaming kids all wanting lots of hugs. A little too noisy for me, but Susan loved it!
Carpet-Weaving 6th stop: a carpet-weaving project where the workers, primarily women (usually with kids) get a good percentage of the sale price of the items they weaved.
In short, this was a very enlightening experience, it was real, not a pre-packaged tourist experience. And most encouraging was that the sad poverty is overshadowed by the incredible happiness and hope of the people.
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