A trip to Guguletu

Guguletu is a township outside Cape Town. Answers.com defines a township as “A racially segregated area in South Africa established by the government as a residence for people of color.” Another word might be a ghetto.

I was told there’s always a good feast on a Sunday in the townships and some friends invited me to head out there with them. Being the proud Scotsman I am, I accepted so long as I could wear my kilt. It was set to be quite an adventure! πŸ™‚

We left Cape Town a little after noon and caught a minibus taxi out towards Guguletu. It didn’t quite take us all the way, so we walked the last mile or so. It was obvious that we had left the “white” South Africa behind. For example, the hairdressers were in shipping containers.

South Africa Guguletu Hairdressers in containers

We arrived in good time to get a table. Later in the afternoon it’s next to impossible to find a seat. The place sells meat and ice, but no drinks. So you head to the local liquor store to stock up on beer, which we promptly did. Here’s a shot of Zim behind our bucket of beers.

South Africa Guguletu Zim going for the Amstel

Here’s a picture of me while I’m still (fairly) sober!

South Africa Guguletu Callum at Sunday meat

Zim ordered the meat, and some hours later, a tray of chicken wings arrived. I forget the name of the white stuff, but it’s made of maze meal I believe. Despite the fact it looks terrible, it actually wasn’t bad!

South Africa Guguletu Chicken wings on Sunday

It was hard to capture the essence of the afternoon with a still photo, particularly the pounding music (I had my earplugs!). So I shot a few videos, and I think this one sums it up best.

There was dancing, I think our table led the charge on the front actually. There was eating, drinking and much merriment. More than a few people asked me what was under my kilt and I gave my standard response to all of them. “To answer that question involves a woman and a blindfold.” Alas, no takers on this occasion. πŸ˜‰

These girls did pose for a photo though. It seems to be the only picture of the day which actually shows I was wearing my kilt!

South Africa Guguletu Scotsman in the ghetto

Thanks to the kind Unathi, our friend with a car, we were able to stay out past the last taxi at 5pm. We got back into town around 11pm after stopping at a house in another township. Then three of us came back to my place and I think I finally crashed out somewhere between 1am and 4am. It was quite a Sunday!

It was really interesting to see a real South African party. The townships have a reputation as being dangerous, mainly because they’re poor areas. My experience was entirely positive. Everyone I met was friendly and welcoming. Several people had to be sharply corrected for confusing the words kilt and skirt, but everyone took it in good spirits. πŸ™‚

Overall, it was a great day out. I’m sure it won’t be my last visit to the townships.

7 thoughts on “A trip to Guguletu”

  1. Great post, Callum. This captures a lot of rich detail about a part of SA that most wouldn’t see. Good to see you (and others) wearing hats – an understated fashion item.

  2. Hey, those people in the video dance like me. (Seriously) Where did they learn my moves from?

    Great post. Goes to show you there are cool people just about everywhere, even in “dangerous” places.

  3. My goodness you are exceptionally handsome!!!!! I came across this page while looking at pictures of scotsman, funny enough… πŸ˜›

  4. Thank Q so much for this positive post! I just got to Cape Town yesterday and the first thing that caught my eye was the view of all the rooftops as ur driving down the highway. I wanted to know what was in there so bad! I read some harsh things on the Internet. Thanks for turning it around.
    P.s :: if ur ever in Southern California.. Check out slab city. It’s my gugulethu. ?

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