Gugulethu is a colourful combination of vibrant life and a local example of the problems associated with poverty, making a visit to the township unforgettable.
“Gugs”, as Gugulethu is often called, was originally named Nyanga West and was established to help to accommodate the many migrant workers who moved to Cape Town from the rural Transkei region in the Eastern Cape. It is 20km from the centre of Cape Town.
The community has embraced the tourism industry, so there is no shortage of restaurants, jazz clubs and B&Bs. Perhaps the most famous venue in Gugulethu is Mzoli’s Place, where you will find local and international visitors on any given day of the week. Catering here takes place in various ways, with meat cooked on the open fire a favourite.
Visit the township’s tourism centre, called Sivuyile, meaning “we are happy”, at the corner of NY1 and NY4. Take some time to wander around the arts and craft shop, which stocks the work of local artists and art students. There is a wide selection of sculptures, ceramics, beadwork, traditional clothing and textiles on offer.
Gugulethu Square offers an interesting township shopping experience.
The township is best visited as part of a guided tour, which will take in all its sights and sounds. Tours generally take visitors past the Gugulethu Seven Monument, built to commemorate the death of seven young black activists during the dark days of apartheid. On a lighter note, no visit to Gugs would be complete without having a drink at one of the township’s many shebeens.
The Cape Town Jazz Safari with Coffeebeans Routes, and which takes place in the evenings, is highly recommended.
You could also take a 40-minute guided walk that will take you through the shanties to experience the everyday life of the people of Gugulethu (inquire about this via Cape Town Tourism). Once you have worked up an appetite, you can stop off for lunch at one of the many braai (barbecue) hot spots.
- Phone: +27 (0)21 637 8449
- Physical Address: Corner NY1 and NY4
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