East London is a city on the Southeast coast of South Africa. About 175,000 people, it is South Africa’s largest seaport. We skipped the museum with the world’s only surviving egg of the extinct dodo bird and instead went of a tour of several “township’s” on the periphery of East London.
During Apartheid, many rural South African’s, primarily black, came to settle in the major cities looking for work. In the process, interracial culture was developing and whites, coloreds (mixed race) and blacks were integrating in large sections of the cities. Music, art, literature and food cultures were thriving in these portions of the city.
The blending of culture ran against the segregation that was key to Apartheid. The Apartheid government dealt with this by forcibly placing different ethnic groups in different locations, even including razing entire sections of cities. Blacks were generally forced to move to hastily and poorly built shanty towns on the outskirts of the cities and coloreds were relocated to other sections. To this day, large areas of the cities have voids and strange development patterns and the blacks, located on the periphery, suffer a very substandard lifestyle because of inadequate water, sanitation, transportation and garbage collection. The township locations well outside of the city present particular problems with transportation and much of the little income they make in their city jobs is used up in transportation costs.
Despite the elimination of Apartheid 22 years ago, the housing discrepancies and townships persist although some progress is being made to encourage housing integration by the new democratic government.
The first photo is a "township" which is a shantytown.
The second photo is a close-up of the shanties that are made from whatever materials can be found.
The third photo is some of the children we met during the visit.Read more