Gugulethu

'Gugs’, as Gugulethu is often called, was established to accommodate the many migrant workers who moved from District Six, Athlone, Simonstown and all other areas due to the group areas act and were forced to live in the township. The township also absorbed some of the inhabitants of Langa when it became overcrowded, having been the only Black residential area for Cape Town at the time.Many families shared a single bed as the homes were too small to fit in anything else.

Townships like Guguletu and Nyanga came under more pressure as more people came to Cape Town in search of work. Township residents experienced discrimination on a daily basis.

Gugulethu residents included Africans forcibly removed from Windermere when it was declared a Coloured area. An estimated number of 735 families were moved from Windermere to Gugulethu. Windermere is an urban area in the vicinity of Lansdowne, located south-east of Athlone in Cape Town. By 1960 the number of people evicted from Windermere had increased to 3128 families - including those from Retreat and Athlone. In November 1961, 2 000 Steenberg residents who were threatened with removal signed a petition protesting forced removals to Gugulethu. By October 1963 Gugulethu’s population had expanded to over 27,000 inhabitants.

Gugulethu was one of the most active and vibrant communities during 1980s. It was considered as one of the best communities for raising kids with its good solid schools and teachers and a number of activities from soccer, water polo, dance groups, girl guides to boys scouts to hiking clubs.

 

Macassar - Where Macassar Pottery is from

Cape Town's Macassar township has always been the place where the dreamers and visionaries live.

In 1692 beauty won the day when an activist-king from Indonesia, Shekh Yusuf, was banished here, only to assemble a ragamuffin community of runaway slaves and free thinkers around him.

Today, the pottery studio, a social enterprise founded in 2010, is a safe space for the community, youths in particular, to discover and follow their dreams. The business is co-owned by its employees.

Here, people like John-Ross tell their own stories through our unique Faces of Macassar range of ceramic homeware. Ask John-Ross, and he will simply say - "I got my life back."

Macassar Pottery is also the focal point of community story-telling and healing processes that are helping to unravel the enduring pain of apartheid. Indeed, beauty happens when you least expect it;  it leaps out of the corner of your eye and overwhelms you with colourful, meaningful surprise.

 

Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha, greater Cape Town

“Cities are a microcosm of society at large, reflecting, to a lesser or greater extent, its dominant socio-economic and political practices. More specifically, it has been argued that, in the case of South Africa, the concept of the “Apartheid City” has been inextricably linked to the segregationist policies of former “exclusionary” governments.  Accordingly, since the inception of democratic rule in South Africa, in April 1994, there has been an urgency to change the face of South African cities” (JJ Williams – Urban Transformation)

An extract from a report entitled “Good Hope” – A first report on the development of Mitchell’s Plain.

 By making land available on the Cape Flats, the Minister of Planning has ended a long period of uncertainty over the formulation of a co-ordinated programme for Coloured housing in Cape Town; planning of development on this land is now proceeding as expeditiously as possible.  In developing a new town, therefore, the principal aim is to create an environment in which the citizen will be provided with all the opportunities necessary to enjoy a full life.  This cannot be accomplished overnight.  It is a time-consuming and continuing process, which is rendered all the more delicate and complicated by the financial and sociological constraints that apply in the present circumstances.

The need for a “Mitchells Plain” was envisaged way back in the mid-60’s.  The first report on the proposal was submitted by the City Engineer in 1965.  This was, in attempt to meet the growing demand for houses by the so-called Coloured section of our community.  In 1975 it was estimated that there were 30 000 inadequately housed families in Cape Town.  To wipe out this backlog and cope with the natural increase 40 000 houses would have to be provided by 1981, i.e. as average of approximately 6000 houses per year for 7 years.  The only ground available for a development of this size as the Department’s investigation in the mid-60’s has shown, was an area of 3100 ha south of Phillipi (originally known as Pampoene kraal and Joseph de Hock’s Kraal)

In the purely SA context, Mitchells Plain is a breakthrough in terms of its planning input and physical implementation.  For this Cape Town City project, funded entirely by government, researched, planned and designed by a multi-disciplinary team of professionals, most of whom previously couldn’t conceive of working on a government-sponsored scheme, happens to be a New Town for coloured people.  Its status as a Group Area development is, of course, a glaring flaw, since it precludes the first tenet of humane housing : free choice of location.  Totally to condemn Mitchells Plain on that score would, however be myopic.

A survey undertaken by Urban Studies, Technical management services (1981) reveals the following : Home industries have historic roots among the Coloured community and have proliferated as a result of the lack of job opportunities, the need for additional income and the ability to increase income by working longer hours; they perform an important economic and social function in Mitchells Plain community, providing an opportunity to operate with very low overheads and capital expenditure.

The above are extracts taken from various reports and abstracts about the development of the new town “Mitchells Plain”; the archaic language style and tone of writing brings across the view of the writer, the manner in which this exercise – the design of the government of the day to make away with slum areas (referenced in many articles and even given as a reason for moving people out of District Six to the Cape Flats, mostly Mitchells Plain).  However, it’s clear that the Group Areas Act (Act 41 of 1950) was the main reason why this new town was developed – further separating people along the lines of race, providing separate housing, education institutions as well as religious organizations for decades. 

“People need to realise that for Cape Town to look good, places like Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha must also look good” (Quote from ex Minister of Safety Mr Leonard Ramatlakane on commenting on the announcement of the winning bidder for the Film studio in 2003)

Looking back :

  Quote Ven Horace Arenz who was the celebrant at Westridge Anglican Church 27/11/2016

Dear people of God it is a great joy to be here for this major milestone as you celebrate thirty eight years of ministry in this part of God’s vineyard on this first Sunday in Advent with this special service of Thanksgiving. It is an honour and a privilege to have been asked to come back home and to share the Word of God with you in this historic place. I say “historic place” for two reasons;

Firstly because history reminds us that Mitchells Plain was conceived as a "model township" by the apartheid government, it was built during the 1970s to provide housing for Coloured victims of forced removal due to the implementation of the Group Areas Act and secondly, because this parish which had its humble beginnings in the homes of faithful Christians and the community hall next to the fire-station has a wonderful history of being the first Anglican Church here in Mitchells Plain and also because this parish gave birth to the other parishes in Portlands; Rocklands; Lentegeur, Strandfontein, Woodlands, Tafelsig and Eastridge. That in itself is great cause for thanksgiving.