A Portrait of a South African Township

Monday, March 17, 2014

Gugulethu, a township on the outskirts of Cape Town, is an apartheid-era invention, established in the early 1960s to absorb the overflow of migration to the city from other parts of the country. Now it contains almost 100,000 residents, almost all of them black. Justine van der Leun spent more than two years in Gugulethu, and she gives us a vivid portrait of daily life there, as well as a window into the politics and vulnerabilities of South Africa. Van der Leun is a Harper’s magazine contributor, and her article “A Portrait of a Township” is in the March issue.


Justine van der Leun

Comments [9]

Nikki from New York

Both the interviewer and Ms van def Leun come across as ignorant. While she substantiates her responses by nervously quoting perceptions, rumors and hear say, he is clearly biased, ending the show with his assertion that the previous two governments have not been the right governments to rule South Africa. They may not be perfect but rather them than the racist apartheid governments who set us back by decades. At least in South Africa the poor have free health care unlike in the USA.

Mar. 19 2014 01:45 PM
deborah from new york

A Portrait of a South African Township
As I listen to this journalist ....I am angry, frustrated and shocked that you would have her on the show to be a voice of anything regardless of where her article was published!!!!!
Her portrayal of the xperience set us back another 100 years..Does she know what she is talking about or Google it.......Why couldnt she articulate her experiences in a intelligent way... Why did she not have accurate facts, why couldn't she give the appearance of confidence in the subject matter she was supposed to be speaking of ...What a Travesity

Mar. 18 2014 01:06 AM
Danny Axelrod

@jgarbuz from queens. I challange you to live in a south african shanty town. I assure you, ur neighborhood is nothing like these places; you would be killed over five dollars.

Mar. 17 2014 01:07 PM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Everything she said? Was, liiike, phrased like, a question??

Mar. 17 2014 01:07 PM
Trystate from New Jersey

The inappropriate nervous laughter this woman keep breaking into during this interview was maddening.

Mar. 17 2014 01:00 PM
The Truth from Becky


Mar. 17 2014 12:56 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Most white liberals refuse to live in predominantly black neighborhoods. Most of my alleged liberal friends think I live in a "bad neighborhood" just because I live in a predominantly black neighborhood and won't come to visit from their suburban cul de sacs. So while liberals "talk the talk" they won't "walk the walk" much less "live the life." There is as much apartheid in New York as there is in South Africa.

Mar. 17 2014 12:55 PM


Mar. 17 2014 12:48 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

I can’t listen to this garbage. It’s complete bull. A sham. A guy commits murder and in his next life he is a saint. Murder is murder.

Mar. 17 2014 12:47 PM

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