Did you know?
Imizimo Yethu – home of Mandela Park – is the Xhosa term for ‘our combined effort’.
Mandela Park lies in the heart of Imizamo Yethu township in the heart of Hout Bay in the heart of the glorious Cape Peninsula.
Walking through this settlement in the early evening, you hear the background soundtrack of children at play in the streets. Everywhere in Imizamo Yethu you will find small businesses, little put-up shops that sell soft drinks, cigarettes, bread and yes, sweets for the kids darting about outside.
Back in the early 1980s, more than a decade before South Africa’s democratic elections in 1994, there was an influx of black people into this idyllic, seaside enclave mostly reserved for whites at the time. The new residents of Hout Bay built shacks on whatever piece of vacant ground they could find. This led to tensions between the newcomers and the established residents of Hout Bay.
In 1989 local government stepped in and set aside a piece of land, developing it with roads, water and sewerage facilities. New residents – mostly Xhosa-speaking people from the Eastern Cape – were allowed to build their shacks here. With the recent arrival of refugees from other African countries, an estimated 20 000 people now live in Imizamo Yethu, which is striving to become a fully fledged suburb of Hout Bay in the future.
A great way to see Imizamo Yethu is in the company of a tour project called Dinner @ Mandela’s. On Mondays and Thursday evenings, you gather outside the Long Street Café in central Cape Town and depart for Hout Bay at 6.30pm.
Once in Mandela Park, you are treated to an evening of dance, choral singing, African music and a traditional African meal at a local tavern. Visitors are made welcome in this part of the world – the tour group and local community work together to ensure your security for the evening of fun and cultural exchange.
You can also visit Imizamo Yethu as part of the Blue Mini Peninsula Tour of the open-top City Sight Seeing bus tour.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Dinner @ Mandela's
Tel: +27 (0) 82 855 0931
Mandela Park Mosaics
Tel: +27 (0) 83 409 3331
City Sight Seeing Cape Town Bus Tours
Tel: +27 (0) 21 511 6000