Toni and Lee on Chippa’s Township Tour

I am usually proud to be a South African, love my work and every morning get so excited to get to The Backpack.  Today showed me another side of South Africa, one that I have seen a few times but never did I feel so sad after a tour. Chippa our guide was excellent to say the least, to see where he grew up and against all odds he has made something of his life.  I am honoured to know him and work with him.  The walking tour of Langa is not the usual township tour.  It is different – because you walk, and the longer you walk, the harder it gets.  I am a privelaged white South African, working hard to make a difference, and yet after today, I support the ideals of the ANC Youth League.  I did my first township tour in 1996 when the hostels (the less than humane living conditions for migrant men workers) were allowed to bring their wives. 3 families sharing one room the size of my bathroom, each family with an average of 6 members. From 60 people upwards living in a 4 roomed apartment. With little ventilation, so TB and other diseases are passed around with ease. Sex?  Well that’s open for all and all ages – as Chippa says, “there are no role models here”.  I can’t imagine how Cape Town deserves to be called ” a wonder of the world” or the design capital of the world’ or the “hippest city in the world” But rather it should hangs its head in shame.  From 1996 to today, township life has got worse – in Langa alone 49% are unemployed.  If there is any tour in Cape Town that you have to do, it should be a walking tour of Langa.  Why Langa? Within a few blocks there is Beverly Hills of Langa, alongside the most extreme poverty I have ever seen. Bucket toilets that are cleaned once a week.Where are the politicians?  Surely, some of them have experienced this life for themselves.  They should be ashamed – spending taxes on fancy holidays, renovating mansions and driving posh cars. It is no wonder that I see more Malemas on the horizon and this time I will be on their side. Malema is accused of hiding behind causes of the poor – but how can we hide the poor?  Thank you to all my guests that have bought a township tour – your contribution makes an enormous difference to many peoples lives in this suburb that happens to be the oldest township in Cape Town. Thank you Chippa and all your colleagues who allow us into their private lives – human zoo – maybe?  South Africa is different from many countries, in that tourists and journalists regard South Africa as a country filled with hope – well from their mouths to God’s ears. Viva South Africa, Amandla South Africa!


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