During my recent visit to Cape Town, I had the good fortune to take a Township tour of Guguletu and Khayelitsha in the Cape Flats area for the first time in several years. I immediately saw an immense change from my last visit. It is evident that the government is working hard to keep its promise of building real homes for people in the townships. Whole blocks have been transformed from shanties to real homes.
Vicky’s B&B in Khayelitsha, ‘the smallest hotel in South Africa’, probably isn’t the smallest anymore! When I was last there, her establishment was 2 rooms for let and was on a street of falling down, cobbled together houses. Her B&B is now a two-story, six-room establishment that is often fully booked during high season. The surrounding street has been transformed with newly built, colorful houses with tile roofs.
Vicky is one of many entrepreneurial community members that has found a way to start an informal business to support her family in an area with high unemployment. She has inspired others in Khayelitsha to do the same.
Any visitor to South Africa should consider a Township tour as an activity during their visit. We can set up an excellent tour in Cape Town or Johannesburg, or in smaller communities outside of the major cities. (I also did a township tour in Knysna on this most recent trip; it was very different but equally interesting and touching). Even if you overnight in Johannesburg, you could take the opportunity to visit Soweto and see the thriving communities, the homes of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu (among others) and get a very real glimpse into the way the majority of South Africans live.