IMPACT: Langa Township & Happy Feet Project

CAP 131-201
  • Learn about the Happy Feet Project
  • Visit Langa Township
Program Overview
Country: South Africa
Depart: 03/20/2017 1400
Return: 03/20/2017 1800
Duration: Half-Day
Difficulty: Moderate
Capacity: Min. 10 / Max. 40

IMPACT Opportunity

Program Fee
$41 (early booking: $39)

Field Work Conflicts
  • SPCM 357 Film and Social Change
  • SOC 362 Social Change
  • POLS 462 Globalization, Sustainability, and Justice
  • IE 472 Education for Global Peace
  • MGT 410 Leadership and Organizational Behavior
  • HDFS 311 Adolescence/Early Adult Development in Context
  • LB/JTC 456 Documentary Film as a Liberal Art

After filming the movie “Safe House” in Cape Town, Denzil Washington had this to say about Langa: “The warmest and most welcoming place I have ever filmed”. Why did he say this, was this just Hollywood-speak? During the course of this tour, we will introduce you to the sincere warmth, friendliness and hopeful enthusiasm of the place and its people, and you can answer this question for yourself. Langa is a suburb in Cape Town that was established in 1927 in terms of the 1923 Urban Areas Act., and is one of the many areas in South Africa, that were designated for Black Africans before the apartheid era. It is the oldest of such suburbs in Cape Town and was the location of much resistance to apartheid. Although Langa literally means ‘sun’ in Xhosa, the name of the townships derived from the name of Langalibalele – a chief and renowned rainmaker who in 1873 was imprisoned on Robben Island for rebelling against the Natal government. Various prominent people fought for his release and he was subsequently confined to a farm called “Uitvlugt”, which is on the site of present day Pinelands. Langa, which adjoins Pinelands, commemorates this folk hero as it was developed in 1898 on the land known as “Langalibalele’s Location”. Hence Langa is often called “Kwa-Langa” meaning ‘place of Langa’.

Meet your guide at the quayside and drive to Langa, where you will disembark the coach for a walk through the streets, homes and hearts of this suburb. During the course of the afternoon, we want to show you “A day in the life of a Langa township resident”. As we pass people walking and talking, eating and greeting on the streets, we will discuss issues like entrepreneurial activity and social customs. As we pass schools, we will talk about education, employment and the informal sector. When we see Xhosa women making traditional beer and cooking sheep’s heads (“smileys”), we will talk about migration from the rural areas to the cities and how women have made use of traditional customs to create a living for themselves in the city. We will visit township homes, side by side with upper class “Beverley Hills” homes and describe how the rich and poor live adjacent to one another here in peace and harmony. We will visit the commercial centre of Langa which is today a bustling hub of entrepreneurial activity. An incredible transition has taken place in this society where 20 years ago the apartheid system actually forbade these forms of entrepreneurial endeavour. We end our tour of Langa with a visit to the Happy Feet Project, an initiative started in 2007 to provide township kids with positive influences to keep them away from gangs and drugs in the community. After an inspiring performance of gumboot dancing, and an uplifting afternoon’s exposure to the “Spirit of Langa”, we return to the quayside.

Special Note

-Please note to utilize the restroom facilities prior to departure, due to limited restrooms available in the township.
-Please note that most of the sites visited on this tour are part of an African Township, which whilst having extreme poverty, is busy being uplifted by the government and the local community, making it a place of hope. One needs to be prepared for this aspect of the tour, as it is definitely a “no frills “experience.
-Through participating in this tour, you will receive an insight into the local African culture like no other you have ever experienced, and in doing so, will contribute to the economic upliftment so vital for the people of South Africa