Minnesota Farmer

South Africa Bound – Kliptown
February 15, 2011, 3:10 pm
Filed under: Johannesburg, school, South Africa, travel | Tags: , ,

Fifteen people from the Shetek conference of the ELCA flew to South Africa on an agricultural mission that departed on January 31.  To get oriented to the country we took a tour of the Johannesburg area the day after we landed.  One of our stops was Kliptown.


Kliptown street


Kliptown is built near the Klip river.   It is a collection of shacks made from whatever building materials are available.  The dirt streets double as the sewer.  A few water taps and the occasionally illegally taped power line are all the services they have.  Much of the area is subject to flooding in high water times, so it is not the most desirable place to live.  Port-a-potties are the local attempt at sanitation, but most are locked so that only the family that owns them can use it.  Chickens, goats and cows freely roam the area without a fence or owner in sight.  Many would call it a slum, but the people seem well dressed and happy, so why do they live there.

The reason is that it is the cheapest place to live and still get on the bus to the downtown jobs.


Kliptown Youth program welcome


We were greeted at the Kliptown Youth Center with a round of the local sorghum beer in the traditional calabash,


Boots and the garden at the Kliptown Youth Program center.


a row of miners boots near the garden,




and young people doing traditional dances.  The Kliptown Youth Program (KYP) is attempting to provide an education for the youngsters of the area to provide them a way out of Kliptown.  The effort is working, but jobs of any kind are hard to come by in South Africa.  Only 25% of the population is registered as working, that means they pay taxes.  Many work off the books or make do reselling produce of one variety or another.


Daycare at KYP


Success in the future is vitally important to these young people who live and work in Kliptown.  There is a great desire to be more than they are now in South Africa.  It is the hope of KYP to provide the tools so that the youth of Kliptown can be successful tomorrow.

Next stop, the Mandella house and the Apartheid Museum.


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[…] I went to Kliptown in 2011 we were newly arrived in South Africa.  My recollections were those of one who had little […]

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