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Townships, South Africa

We had read about the various guided tourist visits to South Africa's black and colored townships in our guidebooks and guest house brochures and were alternately curious and apprehensive about joining one of the tours in Cape Town. Traveling around Southern Africa, we encountered these ramshackle shanty towns nearly everywhere and we were genuinely curious about the daily life of and concerned for the plight of the majority of South Africa's (new) citizens. Having had so many friendly interactions with blacks and coloreds, as the people of mixed race are known here, we were certainly not afraid to visit a township, but we were apprehensive for other reasons. How would we feel if mini buses packed with camera-toting foreigners regularly toured through our neighborhood to catch a glimpse of what our homes and lives are like? We didn't want to be packed on a big, safe, air-conditioned bus and driven through the townships on some sort of poverty safari, as some of the first such tours reportedly were conducted. Lonely Planet South Africa's author assured us that, with a conscientiously run tour operator, we would have a chance to get out and meet people and would very likely be welcomed by the townships' residents. Furthermore, we read, such visits were deemed quite beneficial to the townships on a number of levels: for their financial contributions (many, if not all, of the tour operators donate some of their earnings to township initiatives and tourists are spending more and more money at township businesses during their visits), but perhaps more importantly, for raising outsiders' awareness of the living conditions in the townships, showing them the new hope for improvement held by many of the residents and generally fostering good will and communication between cultures. Continued here

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South Africa Galleries:
(South Africa Panoramas 4) (Around Cape Town 14) (The Overberg 7) (The Garden Route 9) (Little Karoo 3) (Townships)

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Drying Laundry
Drying Laundry - Click for large image
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Kyelitsha Barber Shop
Kyelitsha Barber Shop - Click for large image

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Mother and Child, Khyelitsha
Mother and Child, Khyelitsha - Click for large image
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Rosie's Kids (1)
Rosie's Kids (1) - Click for large image

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Rosie's Kids (2)
Rosie's Kids (2) - Click for large image
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School Children, Lange Township
School Children, Lange Township - Click for large image

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