Sam Greenberg’s Post
It was very interesting to visit Langa today and to see the black township. Langa is the oldest black township in the Cape Town area. It was created in 1923. Some of the people who live in the Langa township are living there as a result of being thrown out of District Six during apartheid. The houses in Langa were very small and they reminded me of the township that we visited in Hermanus. Since we got to see the kinds of houses and the living conditions that many Blacks are living in, it made me feel very thankful for what I have. Several black children waved to me when I was on the bus and I waved back to them. I am so curious as to how people in Black townships live. I wish I had asked them questions such as how old are you and do you know how to read and write? Do you have phones? If not, do you play outside more? I really wish that I could have had a one on one interaction with these kids. I would be very interested in learning more about their lives. I would also want to know about their religious life.
We went to two churches in the Langa township. The first one was the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. I felt that they were very welcoming to everybody. This was my first time in a Christian worship service. Since this was my first time being in a Christian worship service, it reminded me of my time at victory outreach. At victory outreach, I realized that I could talk to any person no matter how different they might be from me. It reminded me in the sense that I had the opportunity to try something different. During the worship service, there was a choir singing. The choir was full of young people and the congregation would sing a long with the choir. The congregation seemed so passionate when they were singing the songs. The choir and the congregants were not singing in English, so initially I could not understand what I was hearing. However, they had a screen at the front that had the lyrics for the song and they had the English underneath. Therefore, it was easy for everyone to understand what the choir and the congregation was singing. Even though the songs and prayers were not being recited in English, I thought it was very beautiful. It seemed like a great way for the congregation to come together at Church.
The most striking thing about the church for me was that they did not have enough seats for everybody. Some people would try to come into the church, but they would not be able to sit down and worship until other people left. The church not having enough seats was an indicator that the church is very popular among Langa township residents. We went to another church which was the Baptist church in Langa. When I walked in the church a few people greeted me at the front and shook my hand. I immediately felt welcomed at the church. I listened to the congregation singing songs. All of the congregants seemed so passionate when I was there. I danced to the songs at the Baptist Church and I felt like I was at home. Other people were also dancing. When I was in the church it made me think of our class discussion about victory outreach. I thought about our discussion in the sense that we came in to victory outreach with preconceived notions. I went into the church service thinking that they would not be accepting of me because I’m Jewish. However, they were very welcoming to everyone regardless of one’s race or religion.
Some time after we went to Church we got to see homes in the township. It was striking to walk into the homes and to see people living in such poverty. The home that I went into was an apartment or a hostel. The apartment was very small and a few families lived there and all had to share a bathroom and a kitchen. It made me think of our class discussion about white privilege. White privilege in the sense that one white person is born into a family that has money. It was so sad to see white privilege wrap its ugly head around black people. The other apartment that we visited was also very sad to see. The apartment was so small but only one family had to share a bathroom and kitchen which is a more comfortable living situation. It makes me sad to see that Black people are suffering. Seeing black people suffer made me think of our discussion of apartheid. Under apartheid, blacks were not allowed to hold high-profile positions and were stuck living in shacks. Even though apartheid came down, blacks in many townships are still struggling today to bring themselves out of poverty. I saw this in Langa and I hope that one day soon they will be able to come out of poverty.
After leaving Langa I still have some questions. How do blacks living in the township get their food? I didn’t see food markets in the township. Do they go to the city to buy groceries? When did blacks first live in townships? In 1913, blacks were removed from their lands as a result of the land removal act (Dodson SC 2). Blacks now did not have anywhere to live. Therefore, did this start the creation of black townships?
Dodson SC, Alan. The Natives Land Act of 1913 and Its Legacy. Advocate, Apr. 2013