After experiencing the eye-opening encounters, especially when visiting Bo-Kaap, District 6 Museum, and Langa, we then toured the the oldest black township and the largest township (Khayelitsha) in Cape Town, where cultural values and personal experiences are exchanged.
Khayelitsha is a partially informal township in Western Cape Town. It is reputed to be the largest and fastest growing township in South Africa.
It’s a vibrant township known for its entrepreneurial spirit and social development projects. The people are friendly and inviting, the area is rich in culture and diversity, and is a truly South African experience that will stay with you forever.
The Khayelitsha Project
“Originally, Khayelitsa was established as an “apartheid dumping ground” in the mid 80’s as a part of the “Group Areas Act”. In the last ten years the population has risen from 400,000 to 2.4 million, 50% of which are under 19 years of age. Unemployment rate is 73%, with 70% living in shacks. 89% of homes are considered moderately to severely food insecure. The extreme poverty, coupled with poor community infrastructure, lead to immense crime rates, gangs, violence, drugs as well as other societal ills.” — http://beyondourborders.net/the-khayelitsha-project/
However, in the midst of the poverty, I saw hope with The Khayelitsha and lliso Care Society Project. This center is one of the projects in Khayelitsha where they are teaching the older generation a trade as they are now the primary caretakers for the grandkids. The majority of these women have lost their children to the AIDS epidemic. The center produces several types of artwork from tapestry, jewelry, and painting which are sold online. We all ended up buying some tapestry and jewelry.
Once I finished the touring the center, I went outside and was entertained by the children. I have to admit I enjoyed my time with the children. I even found my long-lost “daughter”. Of course, before leaving, I taught them the importance of a selfie.
Iliso Care Society
“The Iliso Care Society supports a kindergarten, a library, food gardens, a choir, and creative enterprises that empower and nurture disadvantaged women and youth in Khayelitsha, one of the largest townships in the Western Cape.
Iliso means ‘eye’ in isiXhosa, because, in order to make a difference, you first have to see what needs to be done in your community. Iliso aims to build a caring society that takes action to overcome their challenges. And, above all, to inspire communities to be compassionate and warm towards others.” — http://ilisocaresocietyproject.org.za/
We were introduced to some very impressive young adults with magical voices.
Toward the end of the tour and at the home of the music director of the lliso Care Project, I saw the below plaque on the wall which states “I was born poor, but rich in mind”. What a beautiful sentiment and I was so happy to experience this with the people of Cape Town.