William and Mary Law School

Khayelitsha

Today I made my first trip to one of the townships in Cape Town: Khayelitsha. My supervisor, his son and I headed out from CSVR in the morning to visit a community center there. It was a rather short distance away; 15 minute drive from the Observatory. The township was much bigger than I expected. According to my supervisor, there are around 400,000 residents living in small shacks in Khayelitsha. During apartheid, many black South Africans who were not able to find housing in the city settled in the outskirts of Cape Town, in squatter camps. In order to "solve" the problem of illegal squatters, the apartheid regime established black neighborhoods, like Khayelitsha, in the 1980s and forcefully relocated large numbers of people there. In addition to dealing with the high incidents of crime, fires, and floods, township residents do not have access to working toilets. If you have been following South African news lately, then you have probably heard of the "poo wars" going on in Cape Town. On Tuesday, protesters flung buckets of human waste at a police escort carrying Premier Helen Zille from the 110 percent green event held in Khayelitsha. The act was meant to raise awareness of the situation in the townships.