Langa is a township in Cape Town, South Africa. Although Langa literally means ‘sun’ in the Xhosa language, the name of the township is derived from the name of Langalibalele – a chief and renowned rainmaker who in 1873 was imprisoned on Robben Island for rebelling against the government. The township was built in phases before being formally opened in 1927. It was developed as a result of South Africa’s 1923 Urban Areas Act (more commonly known as the ‘pass laws’), which was designed to force native Africans to move from their homes into segregated locations. Langa 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. The population is currently believed to stand at over 75,000. In 2005 the Guga S’thebe Arts & Culture Centre, a cultural / multi-purpose centre, was officially opened in Langa after unofficially being in operation for a number of years.

Before leaving the UK, I wanted to visit a township whilst in South Africa and research led me to Langa and to Siviwe Tours who could facilitate a photographic tour for me. I had expressed a desire to meet and photograph ordinary people at their places of residence or work and to observe normal daily life, not a polished drive around the newer areas. Our guide for the day was Nathi who was extremely knowledgeable, not only of the township and its history but he seemed to know everybody we met on the streets too. I have to say we felt really safe in his presence.

Below are a few images from the tour, many more can be seen HERE