Langa is a township found in Cape Town, South Africa. It was established in 1927 in terms of the 1923 Urban Areas Act [forcing non-whites to live in designated locations away from the whites]. Langa is one of the many areas in South Africa that were designated for Black Africans before the apartheid era. It is the oldest of such suburbs in Cape Town and was the location of much resistance to apartheid. Although Langa literally means ‘sun’ in the isiXhosa tribal language, the name of thetownship is derived from the name of Langalibele – a chief and renowned rainmaker who in 1873 was imprisoned on Robben Island for rebelling against the Natal
government. It has a population of over 100,000 people [compared to 50,000 in 2001], and is 98% Xhosa. Part of Langa is now concrete block housing, but much of it remains shanties, informal housing, barracks, without power or sanitation.
Still today, Langa Township has one of the highest levels of HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Currently, 40 burials take place each weekend – Saturday is the traditional day for burials. This represents a death rate of around 2000 persons per year, up from an estimated 306 in 1999-2000, 117 in 1996, and 98 in 2010. It was hoped that the Western Cape would escape the worst of the pandemic (where HIV prevalence rates in 2001 were 7% compared with KwaZulu-Natal’s 32.5%); however, recent figures for burials would suggest otherwise.
See more information on Langa township at: http://www.capetown.at/heritage/city/langa.htm