Khayelitsha,South AfricaKhayelitsha is City/Area of Western Cape, Latitude: -34.0393, Longitude: 18.6792
Cape Town initially opposed implementing the Group Areas Act passed in 1950, and residential areas in the city remained unsegregated until the first Group Areas were declared in the city in 1957. When Cape Town finally started implementing the Group Areas Act, it did so more severely than any other major city; by the mid-1980s, it had become one of the most segregated cities in South Africa.
Plans to build Khayelitsha were first announced by Dr Piet Koornhof in 1983, then Minister of Co-operation and Development. By 1985, the suburb Site C had 30,000 people. Khayelitsha was one of the apartheid regime’s final attempts to enforce the Group Areas Act and was seen as the solution to two problems: the rapidly-growing number of migrants from the Eastern Cape and overcrowding in other Cape Town townships.
The discrimination and black population control by the apartheid government did not prevent blacks from settling in the outskirts of Cape Town. After the scrapping of pass laws in 1987 many blacks, mainly Xhosas, moved into areas around Cape Town in search of work. By then, many blacks had already illegally settled in townships like Nyanga and Crossroads. In 1983 and 1984, conditions in squatter camps like Crossroads and KTC worsened and exacerbated by official policing policy in which homes were destroyed and the emergence of the Witdoeke, led by “Mayor” Johnson Ngxobongwana. The Witdoeke were actively supported by the apartheid government in its fight against the ANC-aligned UDF, which had actively opposed plans for people to be moved to the new township of Khayelitsha. As the black population grew, the apartheid regime sought to solve the “problem” by establishing new black neighbourhoods. Khayelitsha was established in 1985 and large numbers of people were forcefully relocated there, mostly peacefully but occasionally with violence.
The Western Cape was a preference area for the local coloured population, and a system called influx control was in place to restrict Xhosas from travelling from the Transkei by requiring a permit. After the historic 1994 elections, hundreds of thousands moved to urban areas in search of work, education or both. Many of them erected shacks made of tin, wood and cardboard.
Khayelitsha along N2 road (2015)
Khayelitsha has a population of 391,749 (as of 2011). The ethnic makeup of Khayelitsha is approximately 90.5% Black African, 8.5% Coloured and 0.5% White, with Xhosa being the predominant language of the residents. Khayelitsha has a very young population, with fewer than 7% of its residents being over 50 years old and over 40% of its residents being under 19. In 2011, around 62% of residents in Khayelitsha were rural to urban migrants,:6 most coming from the Eastern Cape. In the communities of Enkanini and Endlovini, over 85% of the residents were born in the Eastern Cape.
About 75% of residents identify themselves as Christian, and about 20% follow traditional beliefs; a small minority of residents identify themselves as Muslim.
Khayelitsha is one of the poorest areas of Cape Town, with a median average income per family of R20,000 (US$1,872) a year, compared to the city median of R40,000 (US$3,743). Roughly over half of the 118,000 households live in informal dwellings.
Area: 43.51 square kilometres (16.80 sq mi)
Population: 391 749: 7,561.99 inhabitants per square kilometre (19,585.5/sq mi)
Households: 118,809: 1,976.31 per square kilometre (5,118.6/sq mi)
Gender Population %
Female 170,908 51.95
Male 158,094 48.05
Race Population %
Black 327,322 99.49
White 87 0.03
Coloured 1,556 0.47
Asian 33 0.01
First language Population %
Zulu 1,176 0.36
Xhosa 318,389 96.77
Afrikaans 2,297 0.7
Northern Sotho 135 0.04
Tswana 427 0.13
English 784 0.24
Sotho 4,753 1.44
Tsonga 61 0.02
Swazi 348 0.11
Venda 117 0.04
Southern Ndebele 155 0.05
Other 361 0.11
Khayelitsha is one of the top five largest slums in the world.Since the ruling ANC came to power in the country in 1994, the party claims that living conditions in the township have improved markedly. There have been many developments, such as new brick housing and new schools being built and the creation of a central business district in the township. However, many residents strongly dispute the claim that the quality of life has improved and claim that crime rates remain very high and that only a few residents see improvements as a result of infrastructure and welfare interventions. The Khayelitsha Commission was established by the provincial government to investigate allegations of inefficient policing in Khayelitsha and a breakdown in the relationship between the police and the community.
Around 70% of residents still live in shacks, and one in three must walk 200 m or more to access water. Around 53% of Khayelitsha’s total working-age population is employed. The five most common forms of employment are domestic work (19.4%), service work (15.2%), skilled manual labour (15.2%), unskilled manual labour (11%) and security services (10.4%).:7 Some 89% of households in Khayelitsha are either moderately or severely food insecure.:13
The 2001 census recorded that two thirds of residents lived in shacks. By 2011, the number of people living in formal housing had increased to almost half of them because of roughly 25,000 new houses being built between 2001 and 2011.
in 2013, on New Year’s Day, the township experienced a fire that resulted in the deaths of three people, with 4000 residents being left homeless as their shacks were burned to the ground. In March 2020 the Khayelitsha tavern shooting took place in the area resulting in 7 deaths and 7 injuries.
Khayelitsha is located on the Cape Flats, between Table Bay and False Bay.
Khayelitsha panorama looking towards Table Mountain
Khayelitsha has been split into about 22 areas, depending on how one divides them. Khayelitsha is made up of old formal areas and new informal/formal areas. The old formal areas were built originally by the apartheid government and are known as A-J sections (each section with more or less than 500 formal two roomed brick houses) Bongweni, Ikwezi Park, Khulani Park, Khanya Park, Tembani, Washington Square, Graceland, Ekuphumleni and Zolani Park. These areas are mostly made up of bank bond housing[clarification needed] and are home to middle-class / upper working class populations.
The newer areas have been built up around the older areas. They include Site B (which is further subdivided into the K-Z sections in continuation of the original A-J sections respectively and TR, QQ, RR and BM informal settlements), Site C, Green Point, Litha Park, Mandela Park, Makaza, Makaya and Harare. With the exception of Litha Park, these areas contain a high number of informal settlements, RDP houses,[clarification needed] and informal backyard dwellers.
Notable informal settlements in Khayelitsha include QQ Section, TR Section, RR Section and Enkanini which have gained prominence due to their high-profile conflicts with government including protest actions such as road blockades.
Khayelitsha has a small but growing middle class with a total of 1,400 households earning more than R25,000 a month in 2011. That is a large increase since 2001, when almost no households earned over R25,000 a month.
The growing number of entrepreneurs in the township are ably supported by organisations such as the Patrice Motsepe Foundation and Caban Investments (through their Qinisanani initiative) and HubSpace.
As Cape Town’s largest township, Khayelitsha attracts funding from international aid agencies. A number of partnerships with international companies, governments and NGOs have been set up:
A successful initiative at Ikhwezi Lesizwe Primary School has brought company support for technology. The UK based Ramesys have donated software and kit to allow for good web communications. Smart Technology from Canada have donated an interactive whiteboard.
Another such group based in Zion, Illinois, US, is Partners Across the Ocean, which has brought Khayelitsha high school learners to the US and built a computer lab in Khayelitsha.
The South Africa Community Fund has been active in the neighbourhood of Harare, Khayelitsha, bringing groups of students from Arizona State University and other volunteers for home stays and community immersions.
VPUU began as a partnership between the City of Cape Town, the German Development Bank (KfW) and the community of Khayelitsha in September 2005. The partnership has since been extended to include the Western Cape Government, National Treasury, international agencies, NGOs, CBOs and other communities. Co-funded by the Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the City of Cape Town, National Treasury, other public and third party funding and implemented by AHT Group AG and Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood (SUN) Development Pty Ltd. In April 2013, VPUU NPC was established to implement VPUU in the Western Cape.VPUU (Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading) is responsible for the building of community centres and gardens, and the sponsorship of soccer clubs.
Khayelitsha was also the focus of the Community Exchange System when it launched in Cape Town.
Canadian organisation Golden Future South Africa volunteers in secondary schools in Site B. Within the schools, this organisation facilitates conversation on the topics of health, life orientation and education. Outside the schools, a business group aids local businesses in legitimising their establishments.
Grassroot Soccer is a South African non-profit organisation that integrates the cross-cultural appeal of soccer with evidence based HIV prevention and life skills programmes that provide youth in Khayelitsha, as well as other parts of Africa, with the knowledge, skills and support to live HIV free. This organisation operates in Khayelitsha from the Football For Hope Centre, a community centre in Khayelitsha.
AMANDLA EduFootball, a South Africa-based non-profit organisation, established its inaugural Safe-Hub, the Chris Campbell Memorial Field, in partnership with the CTC Ten Foundation in Khayelitsha. The Safe-Hub is a youth friendly space where young people can find physical and emotional safety through support from strong role models and positive young community leaders. The organisation’s evidence-based youth violence prevention model identifies hot-spots of chronic youth driven violence and establishes Safe-Hub infrastructures at the centre of these crisis points. In 2012, this project won the international Beyond Sport Award for the worldwide best project in the category Sport for Conflict Resolution.
Since 2003 the Niall Mellon Township Trust has managed £160m of fundraising which has been used to build 25,000 homes, affecting 125,000 people. In November 2016, under the Mellon Educate Results Programme, 270 volunteers built 13 new classrooms, 2 toilet blocks, 1 kitchen and renovated 7 other buildings in Khayelitsha. The aim of the programme is to help raise and sustain school grades from below 20% to above 75%.
List of primary schools
List of secondary schools
The outside of the Khayelitsha Metrorail Station (2012)
Khayelitsha has a good transport infrastructure. Golden Arrow Bus Services, MyCiti bus IRT system, Metrorail trains, and many taxis all have routes to and from the township. Trains are the cheapest and most used form of transport. Khayelitsha has six rail stations: Mandalay, Nolungile, Nonkqubela, Khayelitsha, Kuyasa and Chris Hani. There are also a number of bus stations and taxi ranks, although most taxis still pick up passengers on the main roads. Khayelitsha’s busiest roads are Mew Way, Spine Road, Lansdowne Road, Walter Sisulu Road, Bonga Drive and Baden Powell Drive.
Khayelitsha Hospital Khayelitsha District Hospital was opened in February 2012. The hospital is a public health facility with a status of a District Hospital. This hospital operates in the Khayelitsha Health District of the Metro Region and is under the mandate of the Western Cape Department of Health. The 300-bed medical facility provides support to the surrounding primary healthcare facilities to ensure that patients receive care at the lowest level of entry into the healthcare system. The facility came as a relief to the ever growing populous Khayelitsha township. It offers district level care including a large 24-hour emergency centre, medical wards, surgical wards, obstetric wards, gynaecology wards, paediatric wards and nursery.
Khayelitsha Community Health Clinic (CHC)
There are three provincial government clinics in Khayelitsha. Khayelitsha (Site B) CHC (Community Health Clinic), Michael Maphongwana (Harare) CHC and Nolungile (Site C) CHC and Kuyasa Children’s Clinic which was built in 2012 are the other provincial government clinics.
There are also numerous small municipal clinics throughout the township. These clinics play an important role as centres of primary healthcare by providing a variety of healthcare services to children, women and, youth and men’s health. Services offered at these include child health, family planning, TB treatment, HIV testing, Pap smears and treatment and diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections. These health facilities are managed and operated by the local government authority of the City of Cape Town.
Kuyasa Community Day Centre – Ntlazana Street, Kuyasa, Khayelitsha
Kuyasa Men’s Clinic – Walter Sisulu Road, Khayelitsha
Luvuyo Community Day Centre – Hlela Road, Bus Terminus, Makhaza, Khayelitsha
Matthew Goniwe Community Health Centre – Khwahlaza Road, Makhaza, Khayelitsha
Mayenzeke Clinic – Fundana Road, Makhaza, Khayelitsha
Nolungile Clinic – Solomon Tshuku Road, Site C, Khayelitsha
Nolungile Youth Centre – Solomon Tshuku Road, Site C, Khayelitsha
Site B Men’s Clinic – Cnr Bunga and Sulani Drive, Site B, Khayelitsha
Site B Youth Centre – Cnr of Pama and Lwandle Road, Site B, Khayelitsha
Site C Men’s Clinic – Site C taxi rank, Khayelitsha
Society and culture
Image gallery of the FIFA Football for Hope centre construction in Khayelitsha
Monwabisi beach, showing the wall constructed to create a cove
Beaches and recreation
Khayelitsha has one beach, Monwabisi, located on the coast of False Bay. It is known to be one of the most dangerous beaches in the area. It was recorded that one day, five people drowned at the beach. This is due to a wall that was built to create a calm cove. Instead it has made many dangerous currents. In the past 15 years over 50 people have drowned at the beach. On warm public holidays, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day the beach becomes highly occupied.
Khayelistha also has a swimming pool that was built for the community as whole. It is near the Khayelitsha court.
Abahlali baseMjondolo, Mandela Park Backyarders the Treatment Action Campaign, the Social Justice Coalition, and the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign all have a strong presence in Khayelitsha. Seskhona Peoples’ Rights Movement which was formed to continue with the struggle for sanitation in the most disadvantaged areas in Cape Town. African National Congress Youth League, led by Sibusiso Zonke and Buyel’ embo village, in Mandela Park, is an entertainment place where events are held. The Isivivana Centre, a community centre and activist hub, is home to community-led organisations such as Equal Education, the Equal Education Law Centre, TEKANO, the Social Justice Coalition, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Workers’ World Media Productions and the Treatment Action Campaign. The centre also hosts a library and the only community cinema of its kind, the Bertha Movie House which runs regular screening programmes – all free for the township communities.
As part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup preparations, a Football for Hope centre was constructed in Khayelitsha. An Australian rules football development program conducted by the AFL South Africa also operates in the township. Bayanda Sobetwa became the first South African to be signed to an AFL club, when the Greater Western Sydney Giants offered him a SportsReady traineeship in 2010.
Recently a tourist centre opened in the township on Look Out Point, or Lookout Hill, one of the highest hills in the area on the corner of Mew Way & Spine Road. Lookout Hill is also one of the 7 Wonders of the world picture frame of Cape Town, part of the World Design Capital projects. Numerous organisations offer “township tours”, who support Khayelitsha through social tourism. There are also opportunities for social tourism as volunteers in numerous projects around Khayelitsha.
Two community newspapers circulate in Khayelitsha, Vukani and City Vision. Radio Zibonele 98.2 is a community radio station situated in the Ilitha Park part of the township.
In popular culture
Films set in Khayelitsha
U-Carmen eKhayelitsha, a 2005 Xhosa film adaptation of Bizet’s Carmen
The Wooden Camera
My Mother Built This House, a Bullfrog Film production, part of the City Life series
Urbanized, a documentary on the effect and affect of urban design theory over the last couple millennia.
Richard Dyantyi, political leader
Lungile Gongqa, marathon runner
Mark Mayambela, professional soccer player
Abigail Mbalo-Mokoena, chef and restaurateur
Veronica Mente, senior EFF politician
Ayanda Patosi, professional soccer player
Funeka Soldaat, activist
Veronica Mente, politician serving as the Chairperson of the Economic Freedom Fighters
Lungile Gongqa, long distance runner
Nontsikelelo Veleko, photographer
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Team GWS signs its first international player
My Mother Built This House
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Nearby Suburbs Of Khayelitsha
List of nearest suburbs within 30 km of the central business district (CBD) of Khayelitsha
- Wattle Park
- Victory Hill
- The Homestead
- Sun Valley
- Saint James
- Oude Raapkraal
- Murdoch Valley
- Mitchells Plain
- Lotus River
- Loch Venus
- Kuils River
- Klein Steenberg
- Klein Silwermyn
- High Riding
- Groot Silwermyn
- Good Hope
- Glen Dirk
- Glencairn Heights
- Flat Acres
- Durbanville Hills
- Dido Valley
- De Novo
- De Grendel
- Da Gama Park
- Gordons Bay
- Century City
- Somerset West
- Fish Hoek
- Three Anchor Bay
- De Waterkant
- Constantia Heights
- Rondebosch East
- Glen Marine
- Cape Town
- Browns Farms
- Ikwezi Park
- Blue Downs
- Protea Hoogte
- Bo Oakdale
- Forest Heights
- Simons Town
- Gordons Camp
- Gordons Bay
- Baileys Cottage
- Sir Lowrys Pass
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