Wandering the potholed streets of Khayelitsha today provides such a tale of two cities, where the planned and unplanned jostle for position. On one side of the road stands an orderly row of RDP houses, their gable ends neatly rendered in pastel shades of peach and tangerine. But turn the corner and a jumble of shacks spills out behind, an energetic collage of corrugated sheeting held up with salvaged fenceposts. There are gates cleverly constructed from plastic crates and mail boxes fashioned from a oil cans, all liberally doused in bright blues and pinks, greens and yellows, tying each assemblage into a carefully crafted home.
It is easy to romanticise this vibrant, makeshift culture — indeed township tours regularly shuttle groups of tourists out here for a dose of shanty-town chic — but the reality of life inside belies the picturesque surface and beaming welcome. Over a quarter of households have no access to electricity , while each outdoor tap is shared between around twenty families, each toilet between ten. Every plot, whether from the RDP programme or dating from when the township was first laid out in , is now often home to four or six other dwellings, each sharing the minimal amount of electricity provided to the original legal household.
In one corner of the room, a gas canister and pile of pots indicate the kitchen area, while behind a flimsy screen of fibreboard panels are the two bedrooms, each no bigger than a mattress. Possessions are piled in boxes and suitcases, as if they could be ready to leave at a moment's notice. They have been on waiting list for an RDP house ever since.
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Their story is shared by thousands of families who arrive here each year from the poorer eastern province, an influx that sees around 10, new shacks built annually in Khayelitsha alone. Originally planned as a community of ,, the population now numbers around one million, half of whom live in informal housing, making it one of the biggest and fastest growing townships in the country. Police say they deal with an average of four murders a weekend , while the local hospital is overrun with stab-wound and gunshot victims every night.
With a Commission of Inquiry under way into alleged police inefficiency in Khayelitsha, there is little confidence in the justice system, and vigilante mobs sometimes take matters into their own hands. It is within this fraught context that German urban designer Michael Krause has been working since on a series of projects that aim to tackle violence through simple improvements to the township's streets and spaces.
Across a dusty lot sits a heap of scrap metal, patrolled by a couple of emaciated dogs, while a toddler squats in the street, examining the sole of a discarded shoe. The community wasn't strong enough to stand up to the criminal elements, so we took them through a leadership process to give them the strength to do it themselves. The choice was either build a community centre, or be ruled by criminals. Each has a multi-purpose room, used for meetings and youth groups, along with a caretaker's flat, as well as spaces for shops and start-up businesses or a creche.
Positioned every metres along a route through the township, with their slender red watchtowers rising above the rambling rooftops, the active boxes now stand like a line of proud church spires. Leading the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading programme, an initiative jointly funded by the provincial government and the German Development Bank, Krause and his team spent months working with the community to map crime hotspots and work out the safer, regularly used routes through the area.
It is a community-led approach that contrasts with the blunt hand of previous top-down interventions, such as the Khayelitsha shopping mall , a cluster of out-of-town retail sheds airlifted into the township in , but hopelessly cut-off, sited the wrong side of a railway line.
Just a short way to the south, in the neighbourhood of Harare, the biggest VPUU project shows how things can be done differently. In the centre of the area now stands a tarmac square, lined either side with new red-brick buildings, carefully designed to frame this new civic space with active frontages. There is a big new library to one side which now claims to be the busiest public library in Cape Town next to a building called the Love Life youth centre.
Lining the other edge of the square is a neat row of live-work units, with what looks like the beginnings of a high street, complete with a hair salon, internet cafe, co-op bank, TV repair shop, security company and a restaurant — all things that would have been unimaginable 20 years ago, when independent business was outlawed in the townships.
Set up by the son-in-law of Hendrik Verwoerd, its existence now is very grudgingly protected by the South African government under regulations which preserve minority cultures — ah, the irony. I was doing a documentary, the gist being: I have to admit that I, as a white supremacist bigot, was a little more equivocal about the issue than the rest of the crew, which is perhaps why the programme never got on TV. Even back then — this was — white farmers were being driven from their land by the blacks and fleeing to Zambia, or the UK, while senior members of the ANC demanded the spilling of Boer blood.
The point — a dream, for some of them — was to carve out a new nation for Afrikaaners across a hugely unprofitable swathe of the north of the country, from Kimberley to the coast. A new Boer trek, a new homeland. And of course they would make it work, despite the aridity and the inhospitable landscape, because when it comes to farming and modernity they are extremely competent.
Racist and competent, while the blacks were racist and hilariously incompetent. Orania was thriving and, like Israel which is not a bad comparison , turning the desert green. Prim, reserved, polite, little kids marched in line to the schoolroom like creatures out of a John Wyndham novel, or maybe an Amish community in the south of Ohio. In the pleasant and leafy high street, baking in the heat, I spoke to a woman doing her shopping. I asked her if she liked Orania. Yes, she did indeed. But what about the fact that there are no black people allowed into the place?
Horrible old cow, everybody agreed, viewing the shots later. By this point the ANC was well on its way to reducing a country which, during apartheid, was easily the richest on the continent south of the Sahel and afforded its black citizens the highest average wage and longest life expectancy in Africa into a typically corrupt, massively useless, vicious and racist one-party state which is on the verge of civil war and where the blacks are worse off than ever and the whites are being murdered or evicted.
That is what has happened. I believe something similar happened next door in Zimbabwe, no? Still, at least in both countries the black majority are in charge of their destinies and that fact necessarily trumps every other. Incidentally, virtually nobody inhabited the Karoo before whitey got there. The Afrikaaners have at least as much right to the territory as the people who have taken it off them.
Christian category includes Zion Christian Muslims accounted for 1. African initiated churches formed the largest of the Christian groups. It was believed that many of the persons who claimed no affiliation with any organised religion adhered to traditional African religion. These healers use a combination of ancestral spiritual beliefs and a belief in the spiritual and medicinal properties of local fauna and flora, commonly known as muti , to facilitate healing in clients.
Many peoples have syncretic religious practices combining Christian and indigenous influences. South African Muslims comprise mainly of those who are described as Coloureds and those who are described as Indians. They have been joined by black or white South African converts as well as others from other parts of Africa.
South Africa is also home to a substantial Jewish population , descended from European Jews who arrived as a minority among other European settlers. This population peaked in the s at ,, though only around 67, remain today, the rest having emigrated, mostly to Israel. Even so, these numbers make the Jewish community in South Africa the twelfth largest in the world. The South African black majority still has a substantial number of rural inhabitants who lead largely impoverished lives.
It is among these people that cultural traditions survive most strongly; as blacks have become increasingly urbanised and Westernised , aspects of traditional culture have declined. Members of the middle class, who are predominantly white but whose ranks include growing numbers of black, coloured and Indian people,  have lifestyles similar in many respects to that of people found in Western Europe, North America and Australasia.
South African art includes the oldest art objects in the world, which were discovered in a South African cave, and dated from 75, years ago. New forms of art evolved in the mines and townships: The Dutch-influenced folk art of the Afrikaner trekboers and the urban white artists, earnestly following changing European traditions from the s onwards, also contributed to this eclectic mix which continues to evolve today.
South African literature emerged from a unique social and political history. One of the first well known novels written by a black author in an African language was Solomon Thekiso Plaatje 's Mhudi , written in During the s, Drum magazine became a hotbed of political satire, fiction, and essays, giving a voice to urban black culture. When awarding the prize, the Swedish Academy stated that Coetzee "in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider. Breyten Breytenbach was jailed for his involvement with the guerrilla movement against apartheid.
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While South Africa's many broadcasters and publications reflect the diversity of the population as a whole, the most commonly used language is English. However, all ten other official languages are represented to some extent or another. There is great diversity in South African music.
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Black musicians have developed a unique style called Kwaito , that is said to have taken over radio, television, and magazines. More famous traditional musicians include Ladysmith Black Mambazo , while the Soweto String Quartet performs classic music with an African flavour. Afrikaans music covers multiple genres, such as the contemporary Steve Hofmeyr , the punk rock band Fokofpolisiekar and the singer-songwriter Jeremy Loops.
South African popular musicians that have found international success include Johnny Clegg , as well as Seether. Although few South African film productions are known outside South Africa itself, many foreign films have been produced about South Africa. Arguably, the most high-profile film portraying South Africa in recent years was District 9. South African cuisine is diverse; foods from many cultures are enjoyed by all and especially marketed to tourists who wish to sample the large variety.
South African cuisine is heavily meat-based and has spawned the distinctively South African social gathering known as the braai , a variation of the barbecue. South Africa has also developed into a major wine producer, with some of the best vineyards lying in valleys around Stellenbosch , Franschhoek , Paarl and Barrydale. South Africa's most popular sports are soccer , rugby and cricket. Although soccer commands the greatest following among the youth, other sports like basketball, surfing and skateboarding are increasingly popular. It followed the Rugby World Cup by hosting the African Cup of Nations , with the national team, the Springboks , going on to win the tournament.
South Africa's national blind cricket team also went onto win the inaugural edition of the Blind Cricket World Cup in In , Oscar Pistorius became the first double amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympic Games in London. In golf, Gary Player is generally regarded as one of the greatest golfers of all time, having won the Career Grand Slam , one of five golfers to have done so. The adult literacy rate in was Learners have twelve years of formal schooling, from grade 1 to Grade R, or grade 0, is a pre-primary foundation year.
The National Senior Certificate NSC examination takes place at the end of grade 12 and is necessary for tertiary studies at a South African university. Public universities in South Africa are divided into three types: There are 23 public universities in South Africa: Under apartheid, schools for black people were subject to discrimination through inadequate funding and a separate syllabus called Bantu Education which was only designed to give them sufficient skills to work as labourers. In , South Africa started reforming its tertiary education system, merging and incorporating small universities into larger institutions, and renaming all tertiary education institutions "university".
South Africa is home to the third largest hospital in the world, the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. The link between HIV, a virus spread primarily by sexual contact, and AIDS was long denied by former president Thabo Mbeki and his health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang , who insisted that the many deaths in the country are due to malnutrition , and hence poverty, and not HIV. After the general elections , former president Jacob Zuma appointed Dr Aaron Motsoaledi as the new health minister and committed his government to increasing funding for and widening the scope of HIV treatment,  and by , South Africa had made significant progress, with the widespread availability of antiretroviral drugs resulted in an increase in life expectancy from From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
This article is about the modern state. For the geographical area, see Southern Africa. For other uses, see South Africa disambiguation. Republic in the southernmost part of Africa. Pretoria executive Bloemfontein judicial Cape Town legislative. Official names of South Africa. History of South Africa. This section has multiple issues.
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Fynbos , Cape Floristic Region. Blue crane , national bird. Flowers in the West Coast National Park. Crime in South Africa. Foreign relations of South Africa. South African National Defence Force. Provinces of South Africa. Economy of South Africa.
South Africa: Where Corruption, Rape and Murder Are Normal
Science and technology in South Africa. Water supply and sanitation in South Africa. Demographics of South Africa. Languages of South Africa. Largest cities or towns in South Africa Community Survey . Religion in South Africa. Religion in South Africa  religion percent Protestant.
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