Afrika Moni is an intense young man who would like to be a journalist . If you take the tour bus on the blue route out of Cape Town you may be fortunate enough to meet him. As the bus starts its journey, the tour guide will announce a range of stops including the antiques/shopping area, Seal Island, the Botanical Gardens and Hout Bay. He will also tell you that if you would like to see an African township, he can telephone ahead and arrange for an official guide to meet the bus and conduct a township walk. If you are in South Africa to learn about the country, it's at this point that you will meet Afrika Moni.
Hout Bay Township was intended to be home to some 2,000 people; today it is populated by more than 19,000. The proximity to Cape Town suggests better employment opportunities than previously enjoyed by the thousands of newcomers; the truth is that for the majority the move changes little. Most of the residents are still unemployed or standing on street corners hoping to be hired as day labour; almost all are living in extreme poverty. However, this does not stop the flow of new arrivals; the word spreading to the extent that one resident is a Kalahari Bushman who does not speak any of the languages of the community and communicates only by gestures, but is still hopeful that his move to Hout Bay will mean a better life.
You would expect this walk to be surrounded by apprehension; you would expect the residents to be morose and in despair; neither expectation is realised. It would be remarkable if an area of such deprivation and extreme poverty was free of crime, but there is no feeling of threat. riendliness is the dominant emotion among these residents. They have never known anything but extreme poverty and with the exception of a few of their number, they are resigned to acceptance of these circumstances as the pattern for the remainder of their lives. There is extreme wealth in South Africa, but it is not to be found here.
Despit the general acceptance of the status quo, the people are welcoming and keen that visitors should leave better informed about their circumstances than when they arrived. There are smiles on the faces and the children are, like children everywhere, looking for the smile that seals the bond with their visitors.