Khayelitsha is located on the Cape Flats in the Western cape, 30km southeast of the Cape Town city centre, just off the N2. Khayelitsha is a Xhosa word for ‘Our New Home’. It is known for its entrepreneurial spirit and social development projects. The people of Khayelitsha are friendly and inviting and the area is rich in culture and diversity. Tourism is a big drawing card, and gives visitors, some insight into the lives of those who live here. Numerous organisations offer “township tours”, and there are also opportunities for social tourism as volunteers in numerous projects around Khayelitsha. The restaurants in Khayelitsha offer a mix of traditional and western food, but it is the more traditional local dishes that offer unique culinary experiences.
The Khayelitsha township was created in the 1980’s under then Prime Minister PW Botha. It was one of the apartheid regime’s final attempts to enforce the Group Areas Act. Since the ANC came to power, the ruling party claims that living conditions in the township have improved markedly. There have been developments such as new brick housing being built, as well as new schools, and a creation of a central business district. Despite the developments, a large portion of residents still live in shacks.
Khayelitsha has a good transport infrastructure with bus services, trains and many taxis having routes to and from the township. Trains are the most used form of transport and Khayelitsha has six rail stations: Mandalay, Nolungile, Nonkqubela, Khayelitsha, Kuyasa and Chris Hani. Monwabisi is Khayelitsha’s only beach, and is known as one the most dangerous beaches in the area. The beach is highly occupied on public holidays, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. Khayelitsha also has a community swimming pool. Two community newspapers, Vukani and City Vision, circulate in Khayelitsha. The local community radio station is called Radio Zibonele 98.2 .
The film uCarmen eKhayelitsha, placed the township on the world map and scooped the Golden Bear award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2005. The film combines the opera Carmen with South African Choral tradition, in a local township setting. A favourite stop among tourists is the Khayelitsha Craft Market, situated at the St Michael’s church. Here you will find a selection of pottery, beadwork, baskets, paintings, curious, and many other hand crafted items.
The Lookout Hill tourist facility on corner of Mew and Spine roads in Khayelitsha, consists of a restaurant, gift shop and information kiosk. It has a look-out point on the highest dune with a 360-degree view of the mountains and coast. The Bandwidth Barn is on Lookout Hill and is a space for local technology innovators and entrepreneurs to meet up and network.