A view of a typical Township in South Africa. Townships are a legacy of the Apartheid government. They were created to control the Black population and were a sort of quick access to cheap labour, a sort of labour reserve for the white government. As you can see in this picture, generally townships are in a decrepid state. Isolated, far from the city and far from essential services. Non Whites were not allowed to stay in the cities and suburban areas, these were reserved for Whites, and townships for Blacks. Today, the township residents are victim to many social ills that are not entirely of their making. Few opportunities for employemnt often exist in townships, most of what we see there are taverns, thereby worsening the problem of risky behaviour. Few alternatives exist for youth growing up there. Libraries are often in the towns and cities. Hiphop in many townships has been actively taken up by the youth.
Townships are similar to the ghettoes that gave birth to Hiphop culture in America. It is used as a means of escape as well as an active response to the challenges that face the youth there, it is used as a tool of expression. The township is still an audible presence in the landscape of South Africa even after the first democratic elections and conditions there have gotten worse for many. The rising costs of living are making it hard for many to keep up with the demands of living.
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