In a museum, this amalgam of wood and tin might be bathed in spotlight, perched on polished oak flooring, and admired by soft-spoken gallery-goers. No. This unlikely art is someone’s home. I took this picture in Cape Town, South Africa. Millions of people live in the townships swelling the area between the airport and central Cape Town. This was taken in Langa, the largest and oldest township. Now that apartheid has fallen and the country is healing, the government is building housing to replace shacks like this. You can take a tour of the townships, led by a resident. We arranged the tour through our Westin Hotel concierge. My guide was a 6’7” Zulu warrior who showed us a slice of life in the townships. He walked us down narrow lanes to visit places where people live their lives - food shops, a bar where people sit on empty barrels drinking homemade brew, a traditional healer and rows of public toilets (no plumbing in the shacks). He told us that when the government provides people with a new house, some opt to keep living in the shacks and rent out the house. When in Cape Town, take a Township Tour. Well worth the eye-openers.
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