Manenberg, Cape Flats

Manenberg is a largely Coloured community on the Cape Flats, where clotheslines span across apartheid-government-built housing and children play in the streets - the back of Table Mountain visible in the distance - the one redeeming factor in a township with high levels of unemployment, overcrowding and a disturbing reputation for high levels of gang activity.

But not all is doom and gloom. Residents have joined with religious groups, schools and community organisations in the Proudly Manenberg campaign to rid the town of the stigma it has earned as little more than a ghetto. Their focus is to positively re-brand Manenberg and provincial government is putting money and people into the campaign to uplift the crime and poverty-ridden neighbourhood through community initiatives.

Established by the apartheid government between 1966 and 1970, the coloured community of Manenberg is divided from the black township of Gugulethu by little more than a railway line. Graffiti, which graces many a wall in Manenberg, changes the official definition from one of crime to one of art, and many feature the ‘king of rap’ - Tupac Shakur.

The famous Cape Flats night club - Club Montreal - has hosted some of the best in the realm of jazz, including the likes of Willie van Bloemenstein and Tony Schilder, and has given birth to its own musicians like Roy Davids, who now plays for the counterpoint project.

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