One of the oldest townships in Cape Town is Langa, which is only 15 to 20 kilometres from the city’s centre and accessible where the N2 meets Bunga Avenue. Langa is the birthplace and final resting place of Brenda Fassie, an outrageous superstar and pop queen. The Beverly Hills of Langa, an area with notorious singles quarters, hostels for migrant workers from the apartheid era, a squatter camp, a large taxi rank, a community centre, and settlers, is a popular tourist destination in Cape Town. More than 25% of visitors take a township tour to see how much the poverty and squalor of the previously oppressed have improved.
After the Bubonic Plague, approximately 500 Africans who were deemed to be a “health concern” were sent to Langa, the sun, which later became the first black township in the Cape. When more than 50,000 people burned their pass books in 1960 to protest the pass rules, and again in 1976 when students demonstrated against Afrikaans being taught as a first language in all schools, it would go down in history.
Even though the township of Langa is still divided by race today, life there is vibrant and lively. While there are modern schools, clinics, electricity, running water, sports facilities, the Tsoga Environmental Resource, and liveable homes — an improvement over the former hostels — coloured and Indian people respectively reside in Phillipi, Brown’s Farm, and Rylands. However, crime is still a very real threat.
You can eat at the Lilape Restaurant on Harlem Street and the Eziko (cooking place) Catering on Washington Street, both of which serve both African and Western cuisine. There are also arts and crafts stores that sell pottery, beadwork, and bags made from recycled materials.