Cape Town Diaries: District 6, Langa Township Tour, Green Market

June 25, 2013
I'll be starting off this post with a pic of something called Steri Stumpie, which are flavored milks.  Since our rooms were equipped with mini fridges, we could easily go to the V&A Waterfront, go into a grocery store, and pick out items we wanted to try, even ones that needed to be kept cool.  I love different flavors of milk.  In Korea, I constantly drank strawberry and banana milk, so when I saw all these different flavors of Steri Stumpie, I decided to try a few.  These flavored milks are even served at some cafes/restaurants.

While this one wasn't my fave, I had to try a cream soda flavored milk because I had never seen or heard of such a thing!  I went back and tried some vanilla milk, which I liked a lot better.

 On our fourth day in Cape Town, we did the District 6 Tour.  Under Apartheid, the government ruled that those who were coloured would be forcibly removed from their homes and moved to areas further away from the city center.  Once citizens were removed, their homes were bulldozed to the ground and even today there are all of these vacant areas where homes once stood.  Our guide told us that the government wanted to build homes for whites on the land, but it just never happened because Apartheid was coming to an end.

We were also told that the current government is building houses for those who were removed in the 1970's to live in.  There is a huge waiting list, and the oldest people are at the top of the list.  Many coloureds are not interested in what the government has to offer.  Some see it as justice, others see it as too little too late, and some just don't want to move again.

The District 6 museum is inside a former church.  The church supported the coloureds during their difficult time.  On the floor of the District 6 museum is this huge map that people who were displaced could write down the names of near where they used to reside.  

 More pictures from the District 6 museum:

People who were affected wrote notes, quotes, memories, and/or their former addresses on this large cloth for all who visit the museum to see.

Under Apartheid, it would have been unacceptable and against the law for a white and non-white to even so much as sit together on a bench.

While coloureds were removed from their homes in the 1970's, blacks were forced to leave much earlier than that.  They were uprooted and moved to "homelands" outside of the city center.  These homelands have evolved into townships, and we had a chance to visit Langa township.  Our first stop was to the visitor's center, where we learned about how skills are taught to residents of Langa so that they can later get jobs.  We met a drum instructor and various other artists.  There is a shop, and the money goes back into the program so that supplies can be bought and so forth.

Some houses have adequate amounts of space, but many still live in cramped conditions like woman pictured below.  Just like most places, within a township there are three different classes of people.  The poorest people cannot even afford their own place, so they just pay a small fee (but what is probably a considerable amount of money for them) for a bed in a room full of other beds.  When receiving mail, the bed number must also appear in the address.

As you can see there are a lot of informal settlements, but there are also structures built by the government.  In the picture below, the government has marked off land with barbed wire because this is where they will begin building houses.  Those who have informal settlements there are expected to move out, but they don't always have a place to go.  This is an example of how those who live inside the informal settlement pictured is opposing the government because they are still living there, even though construction is going to begin.  I don't know what will happen to them.

We ended our tour with a meal at Eziko Restaurant.  I really loved the township tour because we got a chance to see how so many people live.  If I had more time, I would have done an overnight stay in a home in a township.

Our next stop was Green Market which was located in the city center of Cape Town.  My friends and I went shopping for gifts and we put our haggling skills to the test.  I am so terrible at haggling.  I never know what a fair price is, and I don't want to get really ripped off or offer a price so low that it is offensive to the sellers.  My friend Allyson had to help me out with this and we got 350 rand off the original asking price of a Zulu wire basket, but even though we got the woman to almost cut the price in half, I think I still paid a little too much for what I got.  Oh well!  I will put up a South African souvenir haul blog post later, and you can see what I mean. 

For dinner, we got dropped off at a restaurant named Wakame.  My plate (the closest one) has chicken skewers on it, and my friend's (the one to the right of mine) got ostrich pasta which he said was delicious.

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