South Africa is a mix of first and third world – we have extreme wealth and extreme poverty. It is so easy for the visitor to our country to enter and stick to the extremely luxurious combination of private safaris combined with a visit to Cape Town. Many will exit our country with no idea of our history, our people and our challenges. In order to experience where you are visiting – you need to dig a little deeper. As such I would strongly recommend you build in a township experience while you are here. I would encourage you to chose a way of experiencing the poorer areas where you either leave a footprint behind or get a chance to interact with the locals or support a small local business. So either try and experience a project in the townships or work with the small companies that are emerging from these areas – in this way you work with the local community.
Below are some of the people that I work with for Township tours and experiences – feel free to get in touch with them directly:
UTHANDO – means Love – this company is the vision of a wonderful man called James Fernie – he works with a large number of projects that are run in the township areas and uses the money from the tours and donations to make improvements in the lives of the communities he works in. This is a wonderful way to leave a footprint in Africa. Click here to visit their website – note – you are always welcome to simply bring goodies to give to the communities that Uthando supports or to contribute to any of the projects. Click here to go to the Uthando Website.
These tours are immersion experiences. Here you dig deeper and meet inspirational people in a variety of communities. I went and experienced the Langa immersion tour and met a couple of fantastic locals. One of the locals has been working for years on training prisoners and youth to develop apps and in order to give people the skills to create their own jobs. Another was a wonderful man that had used Zumba to move beyond a world of crime. Amazing people who are moving and shaking. This day shows you that despite the odds you can be an instigator of change in the world. I felt inspired by my day with the owner, guide and founder of Side by Side Tours. Well done Jason – I would highly recommend a tour to the townships with Jason.
This is a small company launched by two entrepreneurial local township residents – Samantha and Khonaye – they are 100% passionate about sharing their lives with you and offer some innovative and fun tour options. For the first time visitor book their standard township introduction – which includes a walk around Langa township, if you are here on a Sunday – book the gospel tour as you will have an opportunity to pop into one of the
churches, for those who have time to dig deeper – you can book their township poetry tour or township social soccer tour (Fri – Sun- you actually go and play soccer, followed by a BBQ/Braai!!!) or township eco (community) tour where you help prepare lunch for the needy! Note a minimum of 4 people are required for the “digging deeper” tour options.
This is a wonderful collaboration between Garth – founder of the
main Cape Town walking tours ventures called Footsteps to Freedom & Siviwe – an excellent township guide and local resident of Langa. They are doing fantastic township walking and township cycling tours of Langa – and you also get the option of heading onto Mzolis for a typical township lunch after the tours. Note that I would recommend an afternoon tour with them as they visit the Happy Feet
project. This a project to keep the youth off the street and they learn to do gum boot dancing in the afternoon with Siviwe. It is a fantastic initiative. Click here to visit their website.