|Nyanga & Guguletu
| After the Second World War,
further hostel accommodation for single men was built. In 1948, a second
location Nyanga (meaning 'moon') was established on a similar model to Langa
with maximum surveillance and easy access.
Houses had four rooms, a small garden, water and electricity.
But there were no wooden floors and the walls remained unfinished. As the
weekly rent was 7s 6d, rather than the 6d for a squatter shack, many people
remained in the shanty towns.
In 1958, a new township was built in Nyanga West, later
re-named Guguletu ('Our Pride'). Here families were not permitted to own their
barrack-like homes, as these were intended to be single quarters in the future
(they were very small). Many families shared 'a single bed', as reflected in
the title of Mamphela Ramphele's study of migrant labour hostels in Cape
The pressures upon the populations of the townships like
Guguletu and Nyanga were numerous. They experienced discrimination on a daily
basis, and their aspirations were smothered by the apartheid regime. Different
people and generations responded in different ways to the humiliation of the
The 1976 diary of Maria
Thulo, a domestic worker resident in Guguletu, reveals the activities and
prevailing feelings of the community during this period of violent rebellion
led by school children.
She documents the excitement and fear, as the community felt
both respect and awe of the schoolchildren who protested so actively. Her
writings report women informing children where they could find and destroy the
shebeens and liquor stores that women felt made men compliant to white
Children were known to attack 'informers' (real or imagined)
and anybody flouting their instructions. At the same time, 'bachelors' were
attacking children for trying to stop them drinking, as well as the parents who
went to work during the 'stay-away' of 15th September.
© www.capetown.at 2008. You may print this
article for personal use; if for reproduction please acknowledge
'www.www.capetown.at.co.za'. You may not use this material for any electronic
media except with written permission. www.capetown.at accepts no responsibility
for inaccuracies or the work of service providers.
· Culture ·
Use the Back Key
in your browser to
return to subject
Black Political Organisation