Khanyisa Cape Route
The name 'Khanyisa' means to 'bring light'. The name signifies the re-integration of previously split communities; it encapsulates all that is positive about the Cape, which has traditionally been a melting pot of nations.
The Khanyisa Cape Route is all about a pointing tourists to other destinations in the townships, not just the beaten track to struggle route landmarks.
Expect the unexpected on a township tour – and this route offers just that: from the vibrant music and rhythms of a township shebeen to the rustic simplicity of alternative accommodation in an informal settlement. The participants of this route offer visitors the opportunity to share their homes and lives with them.
Khayelitsha is the biggest and the youngest black township to emerge on the Cape Flats. It was originally a squatter settlement, but is now the third-largest township in South Africa.
Historical background of Khayelitsha:
Khayetlitsha was established in 1983. The early inhabitants of Khayelitsha came from other black townships of Cape Town with the majority then coming from Old Crossroads. Khayelitsha was built under the principles of racial segregation and the township itself is growing very fast, and it has been recognised as one of the biggest black townships in South Africa. At present the total population of Khayetlisha is estimated at approximately one million. One of the most important things about Khayelitsha is that its residents played some important roles to liberate this country from the bondages of the apartheid regime.
As it is becoming a common practice around the country, also here in Khayelitsha, a number of significant places are being renamed after some of the former freedom fighters.Oliver Tambo Centre, which was known as the Mew Way Hall before 1999, was named after ANC activist, Oliver Tambo. This area has a significant number of tourist attractions, for example the Lookout Hill, which is the initiative of the City of Cape Town together with the national government to maximise the number of visitors, tourism and related business investing in the area.
With a population of approximately one million people of which the majority are Xhosa speaking, they still value their culture and history. They are also engaged in diffrent activities with many of them being related to tourism - these include arts and crafts, beadwork, restaurants that serve different foods and African cuising, interesting cultural tours conducted by operators from the area and many more.
Khayelitsha is regarded as a true reflextion of all African traditions. The majority of people live in informal settlements with a very high persentage of unemployment and poverty being the order of the day. What is interesting here is that most of these people are not just sitting down waiting for the government to spoon feed them; they are engaging themselves in diffrent self-help projects. Such projects include Vukuzenzele, which encourages people to stand up and do things for themselves. Most local residents survive by selling different products along the streets in order for them to be able to put food on the table for their families and also be able to educate their children.
A tour without experiencing the communities of Khayelitsha with its dynamic experiences is not complete - the visitors are invited to come to the township to learn more about the culture and to mingle with the locals. Visitors may experience a variety of activities when visiting this beautiful, vibrant township - one of these is a visit to a sangoma (traditional healers or herbalists).
A summery of the main events in Khayelitsha's development between 1983 and 1995:
March 1983: Farm Driftsands was identified as a township for all Africans in the Cape Peninsula;
May 1983: For the first time Khayelitsha was mentioned in newspapers. The development consists of four towns or villages with 2500 families each. This was to be built at a rate of 3-5000 core houses annually and to accommodate approximately 250 000 by the year 2000;
April 1985: 30 000 people moved to Site C - a part of Khayelitsha;
February 1986: 35 000 people moved to Site B - part of Khayelitsha - on 900 serviced stands;
May 1986: Violence in Old Crossroads - 10 000 refugees were housed in tents in Green Point (part of Khayelitsha);
October 1987: 20 000 people live in emergency camps;
February 1988: The railway line opened;
October 1988: Municipal elections with a low turnout took place. Lingelethu West established with Mali Hoza and traditionalists councilors;
February 1990: ANC etc unbanned - visible opposition to local authority;
April 1990: Call for rent boycott to protest housing conditions;
July 1990: Electricity payment boycott. SADF moves into Khayelitsha to stop unrest;
August 1990: 3000 Green Point families settled in Macassar stands (part of Khayelitsha);
October 1990: Michael Mapongwana (WCCA/Civics) emerges as main opponent of local authority system;
1991/1992: Taxi wars and political conflict (Lagunya/Webta);
March 1991: Eight counsillors tried for murder (they were later acquitted);
July 1991: Harare, another part of Khayelitsha, is established;
April 1994: Peaceful national elections;
1994/1995: Process of choosing transitional local councils starts - council and mayor elected;
March 1995: Deputy mayor killed;
November 1995: Local elections were held.
Since 1995 numerous developments have taken place in the entire Khayelitsha area. Today Khayelitsha plays a crucial part in the economic development of the region with its growing entrepreneurs and stability in other formal businesses. Currently, Khayelitsha has a slightly growing number of accommodation establishments, craft markets, artists, etc.
*Source: Cape Town Tourism
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