Cape Town - It's typically thought of as a place of danger, crime and poverty... but a handful of Khayelitsha locals are banishing the negative stereotypes to showcase the real 'New Home' township as the place of Ubuntu it really is.
With its vibrant youth culture and an entrepreneurial spirit beginning to take hold, Khayelitsha is quickly becoming a shining light in the Mother City.
The recently launched Love Cape Town video focusing on Khayelitsha has further highlighted the positives in the area. From guided tours to coffee and accommodation, Khayelitsha has plenty to offer visitors to the Mother City.
Here are 6 experience you must have in Khayelitsha
Department of Coffee aka the 'Starbucks of SA'
Wongama Balani was 22 years old when he tasted his first cappuccino. It proved to be a seminal moment in his life. As co-founder of The Department of Coffee, Wongama and his partners were determined to bring the coffee culture to Khayelitsha.
The first artisanal coffee shop in Khayelitsha, The Department of Coffee has gone on to become an institution in the area. Opened in 2012, the shop has built up a faithful clientele who continue lining up for their favourite blend, despite a hike in prices over the years. Using their own house blend, the expert baristas will serve up all types of coffee, from cappuccinos and lattes to Americanos and iced coffees.
The Khayelitsha Canoe Club is the first of its kind in a South African township, where watersports are rare. What is now a thriving wetland and leisure area, was once overgrown with dense forest thicket, and a magnet for crime. Siyanda Sopangisa and his brother saw something in the space and took it upon themselves to clean it up and together founded the canoe club.
Established in 2013 with only two boats, the club teaches the youth of the community about paddling as a sport. The club has grown tremendously since its inception and the latest offering is canoe polo, a favourite among the kids. They also offer boat rides for tourists who are welcome to come along for a paddle.
One of the best ways to see and experience Khayelitsha is by taking a walk through the township and interacting with its people. Juma Mkwela’s walking tours are well known for not only showing people around the townships but also getting visitors involved.
Guests are invited to help build community gardens and participate in the street art, bringing real, and positive, change to the area. Through this interaction, Juma, a well-respected member of the community, allows visitors to connect with locals on a meaningful level.
Juma’s tours are custom made to suit your interests, whether it be sports, food, are or simply a window into life in the township.
The 18 Gangster Museum concept was first launched as a pop-up museum that formed part of the ‘Together Against Crime Festival’ that took place at Cape Town Artscape Theatre last year.
Housed in a shipping container, the museum has two sections – a replica of a prison cell in Cape Town’s notorious Pollsmoor prison, the other an exhibition and information on how the youth can avoid a path that would lead them a life in prison.
During the exhibition, the cell was occupied by real former gang members with whom visitors could interact and talk to. The museum’s Wandisile Nqeketho and his partners are currently in the process of creating a permanent museum that will be located on Khayelitsha’s famous Lookout Hill.
Nomalungelo “Lungi” Sotyingwe is a warm, welcoming hostess, with a smile that will light up the room. She is also a survivor. After the B&B was devastated by a fire, Lungi made sure it was rebuilt from the ground up.
More than a B&B, Lungi’s is a homestay with visitors doing everything with their hostess, from visiting the market for fresh produce to preparing a delicious meal in the kitchen. Lungi will also take visitors to meet local artist, Golden Nongauza, the flower man, who crafts life-like flowers with colourful tin cans. Lungi’s B&B is a true hidden gem of Cape Town, with an interior that belies its surroundings.
It is the perfect base from which to explore this incredible area.
Golden's tin can flower shop
Golden Nongauza has the ability to turn trash into treasure - he crafts beautiful tin flowers out of discarded old soda cans, and operates a tourism business from a tiny shop in the heart of Khayelitsha. He says Khayelitsha is filled with craftspeople like himself, and the African food is a must-taste while you're there.
Check out this heart-warming video showcasing the beauty of Khayelitsha
The video has been put together by Sledgehammer Studio and forms part of the Love Cape Town Neighbourhood Series, launched by Cape Town Tourism.
The series showcases Mother City suburbs in an intimate and revealing way with the aim of upping tourism in the areas.
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