In a stunning display of contrast, Kayamandi sits at the top of a hill overlooking the most beautiful winelands in the world, those of the Western Cape of South Africa. As far as one can see, the rich vineyards sprawl underneath purple mountain cliffs, amongst some of the most valuable real estate on the African continent. All this is visible from the tin shacks of Kayamandi, a classic South African township made of corrugated tin, wood scraps, and recycled adverts used as wallpaper. Below these shacks sits the town of Stellenbosch, hosting one of the best universities in Africa.
Like many townships, Kayamandi was founded in the 1950s as a specific non-whites area for laborers who were working on the surrounding farms. It continues to grow to this day, and new houses are clearly visible at the top of the ridgeline. The official census figure of 24000 inhabitants almost certainly is a low estimate. Water, such an abundant necessity in a township, sits tantalizingly close to Kayamandi in the form of irrigation dams for the vineyards.
The contrast in Kayamandi is a gap of extreme wealth disparity, but also an eyesore hidden in plain sight to the thousands of tourists and holiday makers who travel to the Cape Winelands every year. Stellenbosch is renowned throughout South Africa as the country’s second oldest city, an esteemed university town, and the centre of the wine industry. The stark reality of the thousands of impoverished people living just above the city centre is a woeful reminder of just how Unequal South Africa really is.