Mdantsane is a unique, vibrating, eclectic, African place. Follow us on a pilgrimage to Mdantsane to discover the street culture, fashion, food, people, music, homes, taverns, humor, businesses, history and what's hot in the second biggest township in South-Africa, located close to the city of East London in the Province of the Eastern Cape. Join us on this journey while we capture the spirit of this amazing place for you in the here and in the now. We are going to introduce you to many individuals, artists, musicians, groups and associations.
They are the HEROES OF DAILY LIFE. They are the people who create, innovate and improve their life and their stories deserve to be told. This is a place for only good and positive stories of humanity, that will send out a message of courage, endurance and strength to the world through their pictures and words.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

C O L O R CUTTING Murals In Mdantsane

Here is a small selection of our favorite color murals in Mdantsane. But we not sure that if you go to look for them that you will really find them. Change is everything.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Mdantsane Tales - So You Will Have A Better Life

The Mdantsane Tales - So You Will Have A Better Life from Chocolat Negro on Vimeo.

"Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another."

Quote from Nelson Mandela from his book " The Long Walk To Freedom".

This movie was made for all the parents and forefathers of the children in Mdantsane and in South Africa. Their children are now at the receiving end of the efforts and the long battle they have fought to get equal education for all South Africans.

In South Africa, education plays a huge role. The government spends 20% of the central budget on education.

Black South Africans were perceived to have the role of labourers and servants. During the 1980s the young population was committed to destroying the education system constructed by the apartheid system. There were strikes and violence that firmly restricted its ability to function in an orderly manner. Despite the huge budget allocated to education since democracy, the effects of apartheid can still be felt 19 years after its demise.

Among the South African population, only 14% of black people have an education of high school or higher, whereas 40% of Indians and 65% of Whites have an education of high school or higher.

Many African societies placed strong emphasis on traditional forms of education well before the arrival of Europeans. Adults in Khoisan- and Bantu-speaking societies, for example, had extensive responsibilities for transmitting cultural values and skills within kinship-based groups and sometimes within larger organizations, villages, or districts. Education involved oral histories of the group, tales of heroism and treachery, and practice in the skills necessary for survival in a changing environment

The Bantu Education Act (No. 47) of 1953 under the Apartheid system widened the gap in educational opportunities for different racial groups. Two of the architects of Bantu education, Dr. W.M. Eiselen and Dr. Hendrik F. Verwoerd, had studied in Germany and had adopted many elements of National Socialist (Nazi) philosophy. The concept of racial "purity," in particular, provided a rationalization for keeping black education inferior. Verwoerd, then minister of native affairs, said black Africans "should be educated for their opportunities in life," and that there was no place for them "above the level of certain forms of labour." The government also tightened its control over religious high schools by eliminating almost all financial aid, forcing many churches to sell their schools to the government or close them entirely

Tensions over language in education erupted into violence on 16 June 1976, when students took to the streets in the Johannesburg township of Soweto. Their action was prompted by the decision of Andries Treurnicht, Deputy Minister of Education in the white government, to enforce a regulation requiring that one-half of all high-school classes must be taught in Afrikaans. A harsh police response resulted in the deaths of several children, some as young as eight or nine years old. In the violence that followed, more than 575 people died, at least 134 of them under the age of eighteen

Youthful ANC supporters abandoned school in droves; some vowed to "make South Africa ungovernable" to protest against apartheid education. Others left the country for military training camps run by the ANC or other liberation armies, mostly in Angola, Tanzania, or Eastern Europe. "Liberation before education" became their battle cry


Monday, October 22, 2012

The Mdantsane Tales - Shelter Me

Shelter is the most basic of all human needs. Until this need is satisfied there can be no peace of mind. We are showing the reality of an informal settlement in the Mdantsane township in South Africa.
The music was chosen by us because it matches perfectly our images. Music and Lyrics belong to the unforgettable Louis Armstrong. We do not claim any rights to it.
"Nobody really knows the trouble you have seen, except Jesus".

If you would like to watch this movie on youtube ( bigger screen) just click the link The Mdantsane Tales.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mdantsane, You're My Home

Mdantsane, it seems to me you have a woman's name
so soft and fine,
and I talk to you sometimes like you are my beloved one
because you're beautiful
and you are mine!

Mdantsane you're my home

After four days of darkest, deep rain
I see you rise and shine all over and over again 
and I know you are truly mine, all mine!

Mdantsane you're my home!

It is hard, real hard to part with you
you're beautiful
and you're mine
and I will leave you only with great pain in my heart

But, Mdantsane you know me so well
I will always, always come back to you
I really can not cheat on you.

And when I do come back to you
I feel again
that you are mine, all mine

Mdantsane, you're my home!

We hope that you enjoy the little poem the editor ( the editor sometimes can get dramatic) has made to express the deep feelings the residents of Mdantsane have for their suburb, their loved one. We feel that the people of Mdantsane have a stronger identification with their suburb than the residents of other suburbs in East London. Maybe this is due to the special history this suburb has. But we do not want to research why this is the case and at the same time it might be a daring, provocative statement to make, that will have others protest and say I love my suburb as much as they do - but we just feel a strong, unconditional  love of the residents everywhere in Mdantsane.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mdantsane - Sikho African Funeral Services

Business From A Container

South African Soccer In 1970 In Soweto

Many people that we have met during the last two years since we created the Mdantsane Way and to whom we have spoken about our vision for the magazine, have shown us that they are hungry for context and want to understand context in the South African environment.

We publish in The Mdantsane Way Magazine a category called South Africa In Retrospective. Here we share not only Mdantsane related images and information but we include stories, images and moments of South Africa's history, that seem remarkable and important to us. The images of events that we publish were not necessarily great historical moments but they convey an important message to us today. 
As documentary photographers we have great respect for the work of photographers who have lived and worked before us because they contribute to the massive task to document our world and to allow mankind to remember the many stories of humanity. 
This is also the reason why we want to establish a digital archive consisting of historical images and documents for Mdantsane's past. Too much knowledge has already been lost.

The  image we want to show you today was captured on film by a photographer named G.Cubitt in 1970 during a soccer match in Soweto and was published in a book about South Africa in 1970, entitled also simply " South Africa. 1970 the Kaizer Chiefs played the Bantu Colliers in this match
It is an amazing image and if you take time to look at it for a couple of minutes and let your eyes glance over each and every face and the emotion it expresses, you can feel your way back to the 1970's when that game took place in Soweto. You can not understand what it meant to be "A Black" in the 1970's in South Africa but you can understand what it meant to watch this soccer match.

Originally entitled : Anxiety and delight mirrored in the expressions of a huge crowd as they watch Kaizer Chiefs and Bantu Colliers play soccer in Soweto

" Soccer is the most popular sport amongst Blacks, many of whom display great natural ability."  (quotation from the book South Africa, page 170)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Another Mdantsane Spaza Shop

True, there is the mall now, but spaza shops are and will be an institution!

Mdantsane City Mall - Last Day Of The Month Impressions

Why are we showing pictures of a shopping mall some of our overseas readers might ask?

The Mdantsane City Mall was opened in April 2008.The opening was attended by the then Premier of the Eastern CapeNosimo Balindlela, Executive Mayor Zintle Peter; the chairman of developers Billion Group, Sisa Ngebulana as well as retail managers and local business people.

With 91 shops Mdantsane City is the second biggest mall in the province behind Greenarchers in Port Elizabeth. 
Balindlela said at the opening:
"Mdantsane people will not have to go to East London now, they will have their own mall, and this is thanks to the Billion Group. I urge the people to seize this opportunity and use this mall and be part of its success."
She also thanked the private sector for coming up with an initiative that would help create employment for the township's people.
 "The government cannot succeed without assistance from the private sector and this mall is proof of that. Every citizen of Mdantsane has a place in this mall, and we should all take ownership."

The chairman of the developers Billion group Sisa Ngebulana expressed at the time his happiness that the mall was completed on time so that the people of Mdantsane could use it.

"Before this mall was constructed local people had to go to town to do their shopping; they also went to Vincent Mall, spending around R50 on transport. Now with this mall here, people will be able to shop closer to home," he said. The mall, which is in NU6, was easily accessible as it was on the main road and had a taxi rank inside it. Ngebulana said that before the group decided to build the mall, it had undertaken a lot of research, which had found that Mdantsane residents had considerable buying power.
"The Mdantsane people spend about R650-million annually and we feel that this mall's turnover could be around that figure. I want to urge people to use this mall so that retailers continue investing here."
The mall was expected to create about 1 200 jobs.

And this is how the mall looks like in 2012 at pay day.
Plan for a long wait at the cash machines 

The images are not that great because we had to take them in our secret manner. In South Africa you are not allowed to take pictures in a shopping mall.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

This Is Also Mdantsane

Property prices in Mdantsane have sky rocketed over the last five years. Mdantsane is given itself a definite face lift. Property agents like Xoliswa Tini and ASAP have become complete success stories in Town.
" I absolutely love it here", somebody said, " I would always prefer to buy here than in town or in the other suburbs.'

Beautiul Detail in N.U.7

House have become more individual, they have become an expression of their owners taste.

When foreign visitors from other countries are taken to the township for the first time they are often stunned by the uniformity of the houses and the streets. And this is true! Unfortunately in 1994 the government continued to use a very similar cluster lay out for their housing programmes as the Apartheid system did when they built the townships in the first place in the 1960's. For the new government the goal was to construct as many houses as possible in the shortest time for millions of people with no adequate housing.

To implement more elaborate, sustainable and modern housing schemes with integrated parks, play grounds for kids and green areas asks for more thinking and for more reflection, a more thorough thought through planning and demands skilled architects and developers. 

Four or five years ago you could buy a standard two or three bedroom house for 30.000 to 50.000 Rand. And apparently ten years ago you could get property in Mdantsane for 10.000 to 20.000 Rand. Today you have to dig deeper in your pocket to buy a house like the one in the picture. It will cost you not less than 180.000 Rand but prices can go up ad high as 300.000 Rand, depending on the area.

But things are changing. There is turn to individualism that can be seen everywhere.

Natural Mosaic Stone Wall in N.U 7

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ubobhalekaya by the Zambezi Marimbas

Enjoy the track! It is one of our favourites! We have researched this Marimbaphone Orchestra called "The Zambezi Marimbas" but we could not find any information about them. This old recording is an example of  the traditional African music played by the many talented and impressive African music orchestras. Xylophone music was played all over Southern Africa in the 1960's. It is still a very popular type of music today.

Xylophone or Marimbaphone music, in Mozambique called Chopi music is a very sophisticated type of African music. The orchestras consist often of large number of players and dancers.

With the courtesy of the East London Museum we are publishing two pictures of Chopi orchestras playing in Mozambique. The photos were taken by Hugh Tracey, the founder of ILAM - the International Library of African Music. His life's work is one of our greatest inspirations.    



Friday, October 12, 2012

The Origin Of Mdantsane

The Establishment of Mdantsane As A Bantu Residential Area in 1962

MDANTSANE TODAY. The idea was born in 1962

We have done quite some research on the origin and establishment of Mdantsane. The History of Mdantsane is a topic that interests us a lot and we would like to enable our readers to take a look back into the past and understand the origin of Mdantsane as a residential area that has developed into the second biggest township in South Africa.

What we know is that Mdantsane was established in 1962 as a so called Bantu Residential Area. But fact is there is very little documentation about the development of this area in 1962 or earlier.
We have been searching for quite a while for old documents, photos, maps and other useful information but always with the same outcome. NADA! This was also a our reason for the establishment of this online magazine The Mdantsane Way.
We paid a visit to the East London Museum the other day and had planned to spent a whole day there searching their archives. What was handed over to us was one folder approximately 10 cm thick. Not much here either!

But our visit was not in vain. The folder contained three documents, consisting of notes from the proceedings of a meeting with the deputy-minister of Bantu Administration and Development regarding the proposed development of Mdantsane as a Bantu Residential area dating back to the 13th of March 1962.
In 1962 the idea of Mdantsane was born. The notes give us a very good idea of the complex and complicated discussion that had taken place at the time.    

Townships were established in strategic positions to bigger cities with the purpose in mind to serve as a labour pool for so called Industrial Development Sites. People were removed from other locations to live there and commute to the cities for work.

We are publishing here with the East London Museum's permission extracts of a meeting that took place 52 years ago and that determined the future of Mdantsane at the time. We think that you might find this as interesting and enlightening as we did. 

The participants in the meeting were as follows:


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Daily Necessities Are Hard To Secure

The daily necessities in Mdantsane are still not guaranteed and are hard to get whilst we reach the end of the second decade of South Africa's independance.
The water and sanitation situation is a very challenging one to deal with. The number of households in Mdantsane has grown tremendously over the years and there has been a great influx of people from the rural areas as well.
And with so many additional households, many of them informal, the pressure on the water pumps and water points reaches critical levels. We are talking about public water pumps and water pumps outside the compunds. With low pressure the water becomes difficult to get and sometimes only sparse amounts are already available to each household. Maintenance is another problem.

The water is used for everything from cleaning clothes, cooking, drinking, bathing, and cleaning the house. Having very little water accessible to each section makes it very hard to get enough water for a day per household. There are attempts to improve this situation through modernizing the main water supply system and to add more pumps in each section of the township.

But still many hoseholds do not have water taps in side their house which means " keep a bucket close by" because the water has to be fetched.

As you drive through the streets, not only the streets of  Mdantsane but of every township in South Africa, it is hard not to see the overload of electrical wires strung from the trees leading to the only power box in a section. Hundreds of wires come from one power box because the residents of the area were not given access to the electricity. So illegal and sometimes dangerous connections were set up because people do need electricity. 
Every house in the area has a wire coming out of it and every wire is known by the owner in order to fix problems as soon as they arise. The municipality is tearing down these wire frequently but they are back up the next day.

All this shows us that service delivery has not been the Government's strength

Transport? Let's leave this for another time. If you have to go somewhere you have to walk in many cases and the walk can be a long one.
But still in the face of all those atrocities and poverty, there is so much heartfelt friendliness in Mdantsane.


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