CapeTownMagazine.com

An Explorer's Guide to Khayelitsha

Unwrapping Cape Town with you.
Also engage with our other channels
to find something you don't want to miss.
 
www.capetownmagazine.com/subscribe
CapeTownMag
CapeTownMagazine.com
capetownmag

An Explorer's Guide to Khayelitsha

A trendy township that’s well worth a visit… or two

Cape Town is a calabash of culture. There is so much history, art, food and fun to enjoy in the region and a great deal of it is often overlooked. Khayelitsha, a bustling, partially informal, settlement, is one such area. Khayelitsha is bursting with exciting and innovative new businesses and activities for locals and tourists to enjoy. We spent a day in the trendy township and we’re delighted to share some of the highlights from our visit.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A DAY IN KHAYELITSHA:

Brews who can do it
Fitting into the general aesthetic of the area, with its corrugated iron walls and repurposed beer crates for seats – a neighbourhood norm here – Department of Coffee is changing the coffee culture in the township. The three owners, Wongama Bateni, Vusumzi Mamile and Vuyile Msaku, have been brewing some strong beans for residents since 2012. Located at the Khayelitsha train station, the coffee spot always has a winding line of caffeine-crazed customers keen to get their fix of cappuccino, caffeé mocha, espresso or plain old Americano. Today is no different; I pop by the remarkably cosmopolitan café for a java rush that will carry me through my busy day. I’ve spent less than R30 and have managed to inhale a muffin and washed it down with the most reasonably priced coffee I’ve had in Cape Town. Rite of passage completed, I grab a bunch of bananas with the loose change that’s made a playground in my purse. Now I have snacks to tide me over until my next meal, which means I am ready to head out.

Thug life
I pull up to an overgrown yard. Two majitas (males) are poured over a checkers board, wiping their palms against the smooth surface, strategically claiming each other’s chips as they go. A third outie (man) is watching them, playing commentator for the slick, quick game. When they notice my presence I’m tapped in and, after a brief explanation of the kasi adaptation, I am moving my bottletop chips across the board. 

The 18 Gangsters Museum on Dullah Omar Street is the first interactive museum of its kind in Cape Town. “We want visitors, both locals and tourists, to experience the subject matter in the area it actually happens in. Gangsterism is a problem here in Khayelitsha so it must be addressed, discussed and interrogated here, not in an isolated, out-of-touch office space elsewhere,” Siyabulela (Siya) Daweti, marketing officer and co-founder of the museum, says. As I’m taken through the museum, young boys from the neighbourhood pile into the rooms with us. Interacting with the kids is as part of the experience as viewing the models, exhibits and replicas is. Siya and the other tour guides explain that the museum is not a static, one-dimensional experience. “The boys come here all the time and we offer them this space. We know that if they’re spending their days here they’re not exposing themselves to the risk of bad influences,” Wandisile Nxeketo, co-founder of the museum begins, “If they’re here they’re staying out of trouble,” he reassures me

After an insightful morning, and spending some time in a replica room of a prison cell with authentic artefacts from Pollsmoor Prison, I take a gallery of selfies with the kids and 18 Gangsters Museum staff and move to my next activity for the day.

Flora fabulous
Only a few people take full advantage of Khayelitsha's untouched natural scenery. Not only does this promising township boast a beautiful coastline but there is a gorgeous nature reserve 3.5kms from the train station that is well worth a visit. Wolfgat Nature Reserve is 248 hectares of magnificence. The beauty of this natural environment is best appreciated in person. The lush landscape is rich with animal and floral life, especially during the warmer seasons. I spend two hours enveloped in the beauty; the cool coastal breeze chilling my bones but the 360-degree view warming my soul. Visitors will be delighted to know that you can picnic, swim and fish (in designated areas and with a permit) along the beach of this secluded nature reserve. The setting sun, providing the perfect lighting, glitters atop the petals of the flowers and shrubs.

 

A post shared by Alba Manzaneque (@manzalbita) on Aug 21, 2016 at 3:43am PDT

Tastes like home
Khayelitsha offers a feast for the eyes but my stomach hasn’t been getting as much attention. Arriving at 4Roomed Foods hungry enough to eat a horse, Abigail Mbalo, or Sis’ Abi as she affectionately prefers to be called, rushes to seat me and fix me a plate of deliciousness. This modest looking restaurant with a maternal heart gives me everything I’ve missed about home, on a plate. The top 12 MasterChef SA finalist serves every traditional favourite from bunny chow, stiff pap and umngqusho (samp and beans) to umleqwa (runaway/free-range chicken) and umvubo (toasted ‘kremmel’ papa and sour milk). For eating all my food, veggies included, I am rewarded with a chilli chocolate mousse with orange flavoured crumble and berry coulis. As if that isn’t enough, there is a spicy warm chocolate cake with white chocolate fondant drizzle on the plate too. Belly and spirit full, the sun sets on this sunny Friday in Khayelitsha.

Party like a Rands star
If the day’s festivities were any indication of what to expect of Khayelitsha's nightlife, I underestimated this township. Throughout the day I had whispered my plans to attend a party hosted at Rands with apprehension. All the vendors, shop owners and passers-by I encountered assured me that it would be ipotsoyi (a groovy event) and that I would definitely enjoy myself. They were right because in the end; I had a little bit too much fun – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

The venue, situated at the Khaya Bazaar Business Complex, is a multi-purpose, open-air lounge. Party-goers, from all corners of the city, gather at this haven for good music and great company. Brothers and co-founders, Mfundo and Mshayi Mbeki, recently celebrated Rands’ second anniversary and this popular hangout has the potential to become a local institution. On this particular night gqom, deep house, local hip hop and kwaito pour out the speakers onto a packed dancefloor. Everyone in attendance is dressed to impress, Belvedere vodka and Moet & Chandon champagne flow freely as twerkers pop, lock and jam to the music. As quickly as the night began it ends and as the city lights blur by, I am whisked home with a boerewors, and my pair of heels, in hand.

Khayelitsha is a demanding mistress. You can’t expect to drive by and get your fancy’s full, this township deserves a day (or more) of your time. There are stunning gems and spectacular discoveries on every corner, just waiting to be enjoyed. Spend some time sitting with the sisis braiding clients’ hair on the side of the street, or ask the entrepreneur washing cars on an abandoned field where you can find the cheapest ngud’. It’s all about stepping out of your comfort zone to experience a different side of Cape Town.

Words by Inga Sibiya

---

Featuring Black Coffee, Zonke and many more, this event is The Ultimate Weekender.

Are you ready for the epic re-launch of KwaAce in Khayelitsha?

If you’re interested in other Area Spotlight guides, have a look at Kalk BayHout BayLangebaanBloubergstrand, and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens for a little inspiration!

---

Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of what’s happening in the city, ‘burbs and dorpies. Join our newsletter and get quick access on the go by adding us to your mobile home screen for the ultimate guide to discoveries in Cape Town.

Follow and like us on Twitter ❤ Facebook ❤ LinkedIn ❤ Instagram ❤ Pinterest for updates.

 

Cape Town Events Calendar
July 2019
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31

Basic Photography WorkshopBoost Your Instagram Skills

Learn basic photography skills at a venue with lots of photo opportunities

Kinky BootsSmash-Hit Kinky Boots Now On At The ...

With music by Cyndi Lauper, several Tonys and a Laurence Olivier Award

chicha4Get To Know Your Wine: Wednesdays are ...

Sample some fine wines and meet the makers behind your favourite tipple

Cherry_Glamping3Team Building is For Bonding, So Ditch ...

Hiking, biking, canopy tours and luxury glamping just 50 minutes outside of Cape Town

conrad_hicksStudio Tours Of The Artist’s Forge To ...

View for free: A new collection of hand-forged metal furniture and sculpture rippling ...

zingara_bombay5 Happy Hours, Every Day of The Week

And Cafe Paradiso has a weekend seafood platter special for two

Nom Nom_New1Something New: Invent Your Own Gin at ...

All-new DIY gin bar, double your wine every Wednesday, PLUS: an all-new menu to share

vredenheim_2019_9Picnic Among The Golden Wildebeest on ...

A family game drive with a difference at Vredenheim

kaskaziBoost Your Week With A Hump Day Kayak ...

The chance to see ocean and bird life at sunrise and get to work on time

cocosafar_steak1From Rib Eye To Vegetarian – Here Are ...

Gourmet burgers and steak, as well as cocktails, are now on the menu at this all-day cafe ...

La Paris_Deli2Wednesday Delights at La Paris Deli in ...

A bakery and bistro experience at one of the most beautiful winelands wedding venues, now ...

cartelcafe6Lunch Sorted: A Midweek Buffet At The ...

Fill up your plate and tuck into a tasty lunch spread every Wednesday and Thursday: From ...

two_oceans_aquariumMake Memorable Moments at Cape Town’s ...

Throw a party unlike any other at the Mother City’s underwater wonderland

Comedyclub_new11End Hump Day With a Laugh At The ...

Share the experience at Cape Town Comedy Club in the Waterfront’s Pumphouse every ...

Om Revolution vinyasa poseHave an Outdoor Yoga Experience with ...

Embrace your inner yogi outdoors

Rotterdam_EventGirlsGin2Ultimate Bachelorette Party: The Girls ...

Three days of gin pairings, massages and pool parties on a private guest farm in ...

HaskellVineyards 6Save On A Meal and Wine For Two At This ...

Haskell Vineyards offers patrons a delicious meal and glass of wine at a discounted price

glam_barBeauty Special: Gelish or Shellac Nails ...

Book via Whatsapp: Workday-perfect nail treatments with free rinse and discounts on all ...

OX boat rides 110% Off: See The Marine Big 5 on an ...

Whales, dolphins, penguins, cape fur seals and mola mola (sunfish), an awesome boat trip ...

theatre and film costume hire25% Off Hollywood-Calibre Costume ...

Wednesdays only: Gorgeous vintage cocktail dresses to realistic historical costumes for ...

Roast and Co Daily: Two Hours of 2-For-1 Specials at ...

Plus: Half-price on all “To Share” plates – see what’s on the menu here

house of hLook Who's Serving a R50 Lunch Special ...

Loved by locals, House of H now does delicious new lunch specials – from boerie rolls ...

Park Inn_RGB_ItalianDinnerSpecial5All-You-Can-Eat Italian Dinner Special ...

Made fresh right in front of you, with your choice of sauces and toppings – this is one ...

Jack Black Burger Winter SpecialGet Two Burgers for the Price of One ...

Grab your growler and bring a friend for burgers and beer at the Diep River taproom

grub_vine_3Free Wine Tasting Every Wednesday at ...

Grub & Vine’s #VineNight hosts a different wine farm

Vergenoegd_duckrun1Cheer On The Ducks At Vergenoegd Löw

Bring the kids along to experience the Duck Parade

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.