Below is some information about townships in and around the Western Cape, South Africa.
In South Africa, the term townships usually refers to the (often underdeveloped) urban living areas that, from the late 19th century until the end of Apartheid were reserved for non-whites (black Africans, Coloured and Indians.) Townships were usually built on the periphery of towns and cities.During the apartheid era, blacks were evicted from properties that were in areas designated as “white only” and forced to move into segregated townships. Separate townships were established for each of the three designated non-white race groups (blacks, coloured and Indians). Most South African towns and cities will have at least one township associated with them. Today they are often viewed as just one of the many suburbs that an urban area might have. Some old townships have seen rapid development since 1994.
Forced removal from city centres to townships has continued in post-apartheid South Africa. The difference is that under apartheid all black people faced forced removals to townships while now it is only the poor living in shack settlements that face eviction to townships on the peripheries of cities. In Cape Town and Durban this has given rise to mass resistance.The new townships being built to house people forcibly removed from shack settlements have much smaller houses than those built under apartheid and are often, but not always, even further from city centres than apartheid era townships.
Within the townships, the communities face many troubling issues. Most often the homes are built on lands that are not owned by the occupier so it is there illegally. Since the houses are not there with the government’s permission they most likely do not have the proper services needed. Without the proper services, such as sewage, electricity, roads, and clean water, life becomes very difficult for them.
Children as early as age 12 or 13 will begin the initiation into a local gang. Children that begin that young have a role model that is a gang, which is the reason for their own induction. Some see violence and gangs as a way of life and a culture. So if their role model is seen doing something wrong they do not see it as a crime but idolized. Without a conviction of the wrongdoers the children’s sense of morality becomes distorted. Some blame the apartheid for leaving a bitter legacy of poverty, inequality, and the nobility of violence. The weapon of choice for most is a gun and with easy accessibility anyone is able to get one. It is estimated that out of the 14 million guns in circulation, in South Africa, only four million are registered and licensed to legal gun owners.
Attached is a photo of a township called Langa which is not far from where i will be living.