It's not often you get the opportunity to really experience something real in a travel tour context. But today, my tour through Langa was eye opening, thought provoking and an amazing showcase of the divide still between people in South Africa. As an outsider I can see the huge chasm between black and white just in everyday things. My children noticed. Asking why everyone who served us (in any context) was black. Fear and defensiveness has created anger and resentment, both ways, and it's mind boggling to understand how a country with such a turbulent past, will be able to move forward.
Townships tours of Langa have become popular in recent years and we're told repeatedly that the towns inhabitants welcome the exposure (the more images out there, the less the government can ignore it) and no doubt the money helps. I must admit it felt wrong, like being an observer in a human zoo, taking photos of people going about their lives, as a tourist attraction... but getting past that, I think the images are important. It's very easy to hear "Shanty Town" and think nothing of it,. It's a lot more visceral seeing it.
A mural of Steve Biko, Anti-Apartheid Activist.
One toilet block is shared by dozens and dozens of families. The thing that got me about this image was the Disney Princess Towel...
A little girl plays in the streets...
A lone dog sleeps in the aftermath of a poker game. This image really spoke to me. I can't express why in words, so I guess that's why I took the photo. It almost seems posed, but this is exactly how it was.
A street in Langa
Two girls play in the street. They seem happy and carefree... It feels as if there's an expectation for them to do this (wave and smile, interact) so us tourists enjoy the show and give them some much needed money. Can't help thinking this adds to the human zoo feeling about the place. Which by being there, I'm contributing to...
A busy street. A lady to the right stirs hops for beer.
A young child comes out of his shipping container home when he sees our group and poses for a photo.