Township Swing: Tony Elvin’s campaign to move the heart of Cape Town

Photo: When Peace Boat docked in Cape Town, Londoner Tony Elvin shared his plans for the Langa Quarter, a 13-street precinct in Cape Town's oldest township.
When Peace Boat docked in Cape Town, Londoner Tony Elvin shared his plans for the Langa Quarter, a 13-street precinct in Cape Town’s oldest township.

In a repurposed primary school in Langa, the Western Cape’s oldest township, Tony Elvin asked 27 Japanese Peace Boat passengers what they thought was the opposite of love.

Elvin’s visitors, most of whom had attended lectures on the legacy of apartheid before disembarking in Cape Town on December 23, conferred: hate, one offered.

Twenty years after Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected president, the scars of apartheid are still visible. In Cape Town’s Cape Flats district, a security wall separates Pinelands, a white residential area, from the adjacent black township Langa, whose entrance and exit are still occasionally blockaded by police.

But not all barriers are physical. “The opposite of love is fear. And the only thing that conquers fear is desire,” Elvin told the group. Behind him, slogans and annotated maps were tacked to the wall underneath a picture of Chief Langalibalele, a renowned rainmaker for whom the township is named. “We want to make this area so new, so exciting, so desirable, that the people [in Pinelands] will complain they have to walk all the —> Read More Here

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