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Lwandle's children

David Larsen

DAVID LARSEN worked for some years among the migrant peoples of the Cape Flats. Gugulethu, KTC, Nyanga East, Khayelitsha, Langa... all were familiar to him for the eight years he dwelt in Cape Town prior to relocating to Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu Natal. Recently, however, he returned to document over a few days life in another of the Cape Flats townships, Lwandle, outside the upmarket town of Somerset West.

Sindiswa Blouw pinched the piece of deep fried intestine and ran her fingers down its length. Charcoal-green remnants of the sheep's last meal squeezed out the end and oil dripped from her fingers as she eagerly devoured the morsel.

They say familiarity breeds contempt. We can become used to the extraordinary in such a way that it no longer stands in stark relief as it once did. It becomes normal, an accepted part of the givenness of a place. It is only when we leave for some time, getting accustomed to an alternative arrangement of things, that the ordinary can return to the extraordinary.

Although I had never visited Lwandle during my sojourn in Cape Town, so much was familiar. Familiar yet extraordinary - from the "pens" (tripe) and "binnegoed" (intestines) deep fried or braaied on the street corners, to the tinned food labelling used to wallpaper the inside of a shack.

As I reviewed the work one aspect of township life in the Western Cape that stood to my attention again was the children. It is the numbers of children, tearing across the...

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