TIME

SOUTH AFRICA’S DIVIDING LINE

Twenty-five years after Nelson Mandela was first elected, the country remains two unequal nations
The informal settlement of Imizamo Yethu overlooks Hout Bay, a picturesque suburb of Cape Town

EVEN FOR THE WESTERN CAPE, A PROVINCE KNOWN for its stunning vistas, the view from the settlement of Imizamo Yethu is extraordinary. A panorama of rolling hills, sand dunes and stone cliffs unfurls to the sea. To one side is a fishing village that has gentrified into quaint cafés and handicraft shops; on the other are stately mansions, horse paddocks and the expansive campus of a prestigious private school.

The view of Imizamo Yethu from the suburb below, Hout Bay, is also extraordinary, if for different reasons. This ramshackle settlement clinging to a rock escarpment is made up of small brick houses, corrugated-aluminum shacks and lean-tos constructed from old shipping pallets. The few paved roads intersect with a network of mud paths that reek of raw sewage in the summer heat, and flood under winter rains. More than 6,000 black families live in this area, which is about the size of a suburban American shopping mall. Hout Bay, which is about 50 times larger and mostly white, has roughly the same number of residents. Violence in Imizamo Yethu is rife; in April, five people were killed in a shoot-out between rival transport cartels that run the minibus networks linking the settlement to central Cape Town, 12 miles away.

A few days after the minibus shootings, Kenny Tokwe, a community organizer who has been living in Imizamo Yethu for nearly 30 years, looks down on Hout Bay’s idyllic expanse. It’s been 25 years since South Africa’s first multiracial democratic elections, held on April 27, 1994, were supposed to bring an end to the institutionalized racial segregation of the apartheid regime. But little has changed, says Tokwe. “South Africa is

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from TIME

TIME13 min read
Artists
CAMILA CABELLO | 22 By Alejandro Sanz Camila Cabello is a pure and magnetic artist. We met a few years ago at the Latin Grammys, and shortly afterward, she told me that she wanted to sing together. In all my years in this industry, Camila was the fir
TIME10 min read
Phenoms
ZION WILLIAMSON | 19 By Shaquille O’Neal I’ve been hearing the comparisons since Zion Williamson was in high school. Big-bodied. Forceful dunks. Elite athleticism. Highly touted. They go on and on. Personally, I think every player is unique in their
TIME3 min readPolitics
Milestones
Humanitarian pioneer AS A BRITISH ARMY OFFICER SERVING IN NORTHERN IRELAND and the Balkans, James Le Mesurier saw what can happen to civilians in conflict zones. So in 2014, he founded a humanitarian group, Mayday Rescue, to help build emergency-resp