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Although we had some apprehensions on touring a township, the second we met our guide, Wendeli, we were as comfortable as we could have ever imagined. Wendeli had been born and raised in the Langa township and had family living there to this day. Although he had moved out of the township a few years prior, he was now a full-time guide for tourists looking to gain a more in-depth and personal understanding of the township and the affects the Apartheid has had on South African natives and Cape Town as a whole.

Immediately upon arrival, we were pleasantly surprised by how much the locals didn’t seem to pay much attention to us. This type of tourism has become commonplace in recent years and we tried to show our respect for us being allowed to visit their town.

Throughout the tour, we visited a community center, an Apartheid history museum, local street vendors who cooked “smileys”, (i.e. grilled goat heads), and the “Beverly Hills” of Langa where the upper-class lived. It was fascinating to learn about the original buildings built by the government, the family dynamic within them and the young adults who would move out to literally build their own houses from scratch in the area. Although these piecemeal structures were frowned on by the government, it had gotten quite difficult to regulate and has since been accepted as an extension of most townships.

Last but not least, we visited a school in the area where the students allowed us to sit in on an after-school dance circle. Never could we imagine American children coming together for such a lively, active and bonding activity quite like this. As the older students jumped in and out of the circle, first a group of six girls and then a group of five boys, the younger kids waited their turns to jump into the circle and knew every word to the songs. On our way out of the dance circle, thumbs-up were being offered from every direction along with smiles and yet another memory we will never forget.

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