Khayelitsha: umLungu in a Township
Khayelitsha covers the journey of a white South African into a Cape Town township notorious amongst outsiders as the dwelling place of poverty, disease and crime. What he finds in Khayelitsha, which means New Home in Xhosa, is an often humorous display of contradictions, with happiness, compassion and ubuntu thriving side-by-side with tsotsis, HIV/Aids and poverty. Khayelitsha winds its way from the fresh suburbs of the new black middle class, to the sprawling shack areas of the hundreds of thousands of Cape Town’s poorest, most of them migrants from the old Apartheid homelands.
Still more fascinating is the gradual crumbling of the author’s prejudices as day-by-day his life there normalises through experiences that are shared by so many of his countrymen – love, togetherness and the willingness to laugh. At times extremely funny, Khayelitsha ultimately makes one feel that the journey to a common identity that transcends the stupidities of race factors, can one day be won by South Africans. It is a hope that the historic tendency of different human cultures to clash, will one day be overcome by open-mindedness.