Learners from SACS high school enjoying a drumming lesson by the Olwethu Uthando Drumming and Marimba trio who are musicians from Langa during a Centenary event for different schools at Guga’Sthebe Arts and Cultural Centre last week. Photos: Vincent Lali

Community leader Alfred Magwaca says more Langa Centenary celebration events have been planned for the coming weeks.


Langa, South Africa (13 August 2023) – Learners from different backgrounds joined Langa artists and residents to celebrate the community’s centenary during a three-day arts event at the Guga’Sthebe Arts and Cultural Centre last week.

The event was organised by community leader Alfred Magwaca and the Western Cape Archives. “Langa is turning 100. Langa has a historical, cultural, and socio-economic significance as the first planned black township in the Western Cape,” he said.

Langa Centenary celebrations first kick off on 27 April, with a 10km Freedom Run around the township. Since then, several cultural and sports events have been held around the community to mark its celebrations. Mgwaca told GroundUp that the public should look out for more heritage and music events to come. One of them will be an awards ceremony to honour legends who grew up in Langa.

Community leader Alfred Magwaca showed learners the vibrant and colourful art displayed around Guga’Sthebe. Here he is pointing to the collaborative mosaic at the front of the colourful building created by a group of local artists.

“We will also have a legacy project to encourage kids to learn our history about our schools, churches, sports and arts. We will ask learners who study history at schools to interview elderly people from Langa about how they lived in the past. These interviews will then form part of our archives and historical records,” he said.

Bulelwa Gqokoma of the Western Cape Archives, addressing a group of learners from Khulani High School, said: “We have records of what was called the Cape Colony. The learners must come to us to access Langa’s historical records. We will explain what information they can get from our archives and records.”

Learners from SACS high school also enjoyed a drumming lesson by the Olwethu Uthando Drumming and Marimba trio who are musicians from the area. Xolani Maphila, a member of the group, said: “We want people coming here for the centenary to beat our drums and listen to us while we sing. There is a lot of negative perceptions about townships. People come here and ask us about unemployment and other social ills. We want to show them the positive and that we often do things for themselves.”

Bulelwa Gqokoma of the Western Cape Archives, speaking to a group of learners from Khulani High School about a legancy project to record Langa’s history.

Sources: GroundUp
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

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