On Assignment in Khayelitsha - Cape Town
Here are some of my favourite shots from a recent visit to the township of Khayelitsha, in Cape Town.
Khayelitsha /ˌkaɪ.əˈliːtʃə/ is a partially informal [and formal] township in the Western Cape, South Africa - located on the Cape Flats in the City of Cape Town. The name is Xhosa for 'Our New Home'. It is reputed to be the largest and fastest growing township in South Africa.
Some History About Khayelitsha
Plans to build Khayelitsha were first announced by Dr Piet Koornhof back in 1983, the then Minister of Co-operation & Development. By 1985 the area already had 30,000 people living in it. Today, there are more than 2.4 Million people in Khayelitsha, and some say the number is closer to 3 Million inhabitants.
Khayelitsha was one of the apartheid regime's final attempts to enforce the Group Areas Act and was seen as the solution to two apparent problems: the rapidly growing number of migrants coming in from the Eastern Cape Province, and the overcrowding in other Cape Town townships like Nyanga and Crossroads.
My Visit To The Township
On visiting Khayelitsha I was taking photos for Cape Town-based tour company Bike & Saddle, who I have been shooting for, for the last few months now and at a rate of about 2-3 days per week, and it's also where I get the opportunity to lead a few workshops and hands-on photography tours. Needless to say, I have been collecting a massive bunch of images I pretty excited to share with you all over the next few weeks.
As a “white guy” from the suburbs, who has travelled much, yet has never ventured into the townships... Khayelitsha was a wonderland of details, an assault on the senses, and all-around very very interesting. Did I enjoy the short visit? Absolutely! I’m already planning to head out there again - this time for a bit longer.
The community in Khayelitsha seems both intrigued by our visit, as well as pleased that we were genuinely interested in their way of living, and in the things that they took as normal and everyday occurrences.
I had a great time discussing braai, meat, and flavours with the local shisa nyama ladies, taking in the sights of the traditional healer's consulting room, numerous and colourful shacks and houses, interesting vegetable gardens, as well as local livestock like chicken and goats roaming the streets around us. Also, seeing the Sheep Head "Smiley" ready for preparation was truly something to behold.
There's actually so much going on in Khayelitsha alone, that I would need to devote a series of lengthy blog posts on the township to even begin to make a dent. Perhaps in the near future. There's so much to see, so much to write about, and so many potential images to capture, it's actually quite fantastic.
Anyway, without any more rambling, here are a few random images - and some shots taken over and above the images shot for Bike & Saddle and their guests on the day. Click/tap each image to get a better view. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them.
Thanks for reading,
PS: Be sure to let me which is your favourite shot in the comments below!