I had to leave the comforts of the Waterfront and explore what life was and still is like, for the poor, the disenfranchised Blacks and "coloured" South Africans.

For those who don't know, in South Africa the term "coloured" is used to describe people who have mixed origin. Not being White meant they suffered discrimination, but were treated some-what better than the Blacks, even in prisons. Many of the nicely dressed workers in the restaurants and bars around the Waterfront, actually lived in these townships with no inside plumbing, no lighting and dirt floors.  So, this page is dedicated to showing that, though South Africa's apartheid regime has ended, the effects live on.

District Six

In 1965 the apartheid government forcibly removed over 60,000 people from an area known as District Six. These people of color were torn from their homes, jobs and communities, to make way for a whites-only zone. We visited the District Six Museum which was established in 1994 as a vehicle for advocating social justice and telling the stories of forced removals. The stories, poems and pictures on display, were heart-breaking.

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Poor Townships

We hired a private guide to take us on a Township tour. Away from the lap of luxury, it seemed apartheid was alive and well. We had just come from the District Six Museum so we had an idea of how these townships came into being. Many homes were the size of a 1-car garage, built of tin and wood planks. We walked through the streets and went into a home where a woman was making beer. It was poured into a huge bucket and passed around for everyone to take a sip. I pretended to taste it - women weren't allowed to drink the beer they made, but they made an exception for visitors.

In the same area as the tin homes, without plumbing or electircity, there were brick "projects". That seemed like a giant step in the right direction, until we went inside. Yes, most had running water and electricity (I think). However, the kitchens were the size of small closets and 2-bedroom apartments were home to about 12 people.

The next day on our way to a Safari far from Cape Town, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The highway took us through beautiful rolling mountains - with tin homes on the strip of land between the north and south bound traffic. Far from civilization, people had to live, breath and sleep between lanes of speeding cars. There were also small farms along the way which is probably where they worked. I guess that's how they also got food and water. This was the saddest sight of the whole trip to Africa. Imagine children growing up in such an environment. Imagine the teenagers watching the cars go by, wishing they were on their way somewhere, anywhere...knowing this was no way to live.