Today included a visit to a township called Langa. It was named for the chief, Langa Libalele. Although it is mostly a Xhosa township, “Langa Libalele” means the same in Xhosa as it does in Zulu. Translated, it the township’s name means “the sun, it is hot.” I was so excited to know the true name of the township! All my hardcore Zulu studying this semester definitely paid off.
I was super surprised at the level of development in Langa. It seems to have evolved into a tourist attraction. Our tour guide commented that the residents like it when tourists come. I assume that is because tourists generate revenue and excitement in the township.
I was also shocked at the contrast between the homes. In one section of Langa, there were exceedingly nice homes. They looked like they could have belonged in a rich suburban area in Los Angeles. But then, across the street, there would be crumbling shack composed of assorted trash. The polarity between the disparity verses the wealth was alarming!!!
My favorite aspects of Langa were it’s art programs! They have a dance studio, a stage for theatre, music programs, a picture framing school, a fashion store, a recording studio and a radio station! The township’s goal in these programs is to educate youth and grant skills to adults so that they may have a better life, as well as attempt to provide AIDS prevention. At the radio station, they talk about difficult issues such as the effects of HIV and AIDS. These programs allow the kids to express themselves in creative ways, as well as allow them to dream for their futures.
I am so passionate about arts programs! I believe they have the most significant impact upon youth. If I was given the choice of something to do to benefit a township, I would have dreamed of beginning a program exactly like this. I hope that it can continue and flourish!
I got to play the djembe today! It’s an awesome African drum. I have found my calling.
My absolute favorite part about walking around Langa today: I was sauntering with my friend Kelly. And all of a sudden, this beautiful little girl runs up to us, and slips her tiny hands in ours, and continues with us on our journey! It was the most precious thing of my entire life! And in that moment, I felt perfect love. I loved her. I had only known her for 30 seconds, but already, she had stolen my heart, because she loved me. To think. I traveled all the way around the world to search for more about God’s love, and I found it in a four year old child.