It’s slowly back to business in Gugulethu

2010-12-12 13:24

The murder of 28-year-old honeymooning ­Swedish national Anni Dewani last month and the ­international headlines that followed have ­given ­Gugulethu a reputation as a hot spot for ­violent crime.

Businesses, particularly those relying on ­tourists, have seen a sharp decline in trade. But tourists have been trickling back into Gugulethu’s ­restaurants, shebeens and B&Bs since the latest revelations.

Lindiwe B&B is situated on the NY12, the street on which the Dewanis were hijacked prior to ­Anni’s murder. It is a popular spot for tourists wanting to spend a night in a township.

Manager Mzwandile Andrew said shortly after news of Dewani’s death was broadcast around the world, the cancellations came flooding in, ­resulting in about R50?000 in lost revenue.

But Andrew said as it became clear that the ­killers were not from Gugulethu, bookings picked up again and now business was almost back to normal.

Highly popular Mzoli’s Meat Place, which the Dewanis are believed to have been planning to visit when they drove into the township that night, also took a knock.

Dozens of locals and tourists from countries such as Canada, the US and Australia cancelled their bookings, said spokesperson Max Nqunqa.

“It was a knock for the business. We were on our knees until recently. For a week or two, ­business was not usual, although we tried to ­explain to the customers the incident could have happened anywhere,” he said.
But things were beginning to pick up again.

Andrew blamed the blow to business on tourism bodies, which he said issued statements saying that townships were dangerous “no-go ­areas”. The danger now associated with Gugulethu following Dewani’s murder is unfair, say ­residents, who point out that the hijacking could have ­occurred anywhere in South Africa.

In fact, long-time residents say, Gugulethu is ­safer than other townships in the Cape. Although statistics verify this, Gugulethu is nowhere near ­crime-free. There have been more than 1?000 ­murders and nearly 4?000 robberies with aggravating circumstances over the past five years (see sidebar).

Jazz musician Porgy Claas (45) has lived in ­Gugulethu all his life.

He said Gugulethu used to be dangerous in the 1990s as gangs fought each other over turf, but that was no longer the case. The problem now was schoolboys ­taking drugs and alcohol, and getting involved in criminal activity.

Claas said: “Gugulethu is safe. Tourists and ­outsiders should not worry about their safety. They must just be wys (cautious).

“Last week I had about 100 white people who were here for a jazz gig and they were roaming the streets freely, unaccompanied. They felt safe and were not bothered in any way.”

However, while Gugulethu may not deserve a reputation as a murder hot spot, it holds the same dangers as any township with high unemployment and poverty. It just happens to be the one in Cape Town with the best night life.

With spots such as Mzoli’s, Maphindi’s Tavern, the Yellow Door jazz club and a host of shebeens, many ­people from outside Gugulethu go to the ­township to socialise, making it a township ­melting pot of sorts, with all the trappings ­involved.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.