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CAPE TOWN: Our insider’s guide to Khayelitsha

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Khayelitsha still faces some socio-economic issues, but the area is alive with sports and cultural activity, and it offers residents all public transport choices, entertainment, health care and more

Originally established during Apartheid’s mid1980s forced removals, Khayelitsha – which means “new home” in isiXhosa – is one of the fastest-growing areas in the Western Cape.

A mixture of formal and informal housing, it runs for several kilometres along the N2. Residents are predominantly young – fewer than 7% is older than 50 years and more than 40% under the age of 19.

While still an area with socio-economic challenges, it has grown into a vibrant community with a rich and diverse culture and a hub of innovation in the affordable housing market. 

“With affordability identified as one factor contributing to the cooling in the Cape metro property market, many buyers are looking at more accessible suburbs for homes, such as Khayelitsha,” says Pam Golding Properties agent Gift Mkondweni.

Lightstone, in its latest property overview, identified the area as one of the suburbs attracting first-time buyers while the FNB Property Barometer noted a strengthening in some of the more affordable regions in the metro, such as Khayelitsha, says Mkondweni.

Most houses in this market are listed at below the R900000 transfer duty threshold, making it easy for buyers with budget considerations to invest. The average asking price of a four-bedroom home is R674000, and a two-bedroom is at R491000.

The area offers numerous eateries to enjoy, including Kefu’s Jazz and Pub Grill and Department of Coffee, Khayelitsha’s first artisan coffee shop, says Mkondweni. “It buzzes with sporting and cultural activity. A favourite with visitors is the Khayelitsha Craft Market at St Michael’s church. Many hand-crafted items can be found here. There are also vendors selling traditional food,” she says.

Lightstone in its latest property overview identified Khayelitsha as one of the suburbs attracting first-time buyers seeking affordable options. – Gift Mkondweni, Pam Golding Properties Agent Picture: Supplied

Residents have access to nearby medical care at the Khayelitsha District Hospital with an emergency room, medical and surgical wards and infrastructure for obstetrics, gynaecology, paediatrics and nursing. 

There are also several clinics in the area. “There are many informal vendors and shops and residents can also visit the Khayelitsha Shopping Centre, and Vangate Mall in nearby Mitchell’s Plain. There are also many schools nearby,” says Mkondweni.

Isivivana Centre in Khayelitsha has a library, cinema, meeting hall, classroom, restaurant, legal advice centre and amphitheatre. Picture Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency/ANA

Khayelitsha is close to the beaches of Monwabisi and Mnandi that have in the past been awarded the coveted international Blue Flag status. Lookout Hill is a tourist facility with 3600 views of the region, including False Bay, the Hottentots Holland Mountain range, Helderberg and Groot Drakenstein.

The transport infrastructure includes Golden Arrow Bus Services, MyCiti bus IRT system, Metrorail trains, and taxis with routes to and from the township. Khayelitsha has six train stations. 

Mawonga Gayiya’s places of interest, things to do 

Khayelitsha is a big and busy township with a population of 2.4 million and continues to grow daily. IsiXhosa is the main language spoken by locals. Taxis are the transportation most used by residents. It costs R9 for a trip anywhere around the township. I love staying in Khayelitsha. It has a rapidly growing economy and every day I see a big gap for my kind of work. The people of Khayelitsha do things better every time we get the chance, in all fields. I own a flat in my parents’ yard. – Comedy magician Mawonga Gayiya who was born and raised in Khayelitsha Picture: Supplied

1 Drink

“You can start your day with coffee at the popular Siki’s Koffee Kafe. Local entrepreneurs hold their meetings here while soft music plays in the background,” says Gayiya. Open daily 9am until 5pm. 0823698229

2 Eat 

“In the centre of Khayelitsha A Section is 4Roomed eKasi Culture restaurant, where you can taste the beautiful culture through food.” This is a lifestyle concept based on the fourroomed homes found in the oldest townships of South Africa and a life celebrated through great food, beautiful home décor and art, and inconceivable lifestyle ideas. Open Fridays to Sundays 12pm to 8.30pm. 0761573177

3 Entertainment

“Five minutes away is Isivivana Centre where comedy and magic shows are hosted every last Friday of the month. Tickets cost R80 to R120 as top magicians and comedians perform for locals.” Gayiya is a regular at these events. 0213610181 

An event at Rands Cape Town in Khayelitsha. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

4 Party 

“Afterwards, many go to Rands Cape Town where you can get a drink and braaied meat while DJs keep you dancing the night away.” Signature meat dishes at this trendy shisa nyama-cum-tavern are accompanied by real township-inspired side dishes, like chakalaka and creamy spinach and pap. The DJs play music which ranges from house to hip hop and, when the mood allows, some RnB. The venue accommodates about 1500 people and is open seven days a week. 0730492333 

5 Museum

An innovative living museum which aims to help South African youth to better understand the treacherous path into gangsterism and, ultimately, prison, 18 Gangster Museum is the first of its kind in Cape Town. Incorporating immersive text and imagery and a replica prison cell, the installations are curated by former offenders who share their real-life experiences of gangsterism and prison, and explain how they turned their lives around. 0218217864.

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