Masiphumelele Township

Masiphumelele is a township located in the Western Cape province of South Africa, 25 miles south of the city of Cape Town. The name “Masiphumelele” is a Xhosa word that translates to “let us succeed”.

The township was established as a largely informal settlement in the 1980’s and residents were frequently forcibly and violently removed to Khayelitsha a township more than 20 miles away under the policies of the apartheid government. Masiphumelele started to grow in the post-apartheid era and today has a population of more than 50,000.

Like many townships in South Africa, Masiphumelele faces various massive socio-economic challenges, including inadequate housing, limited access to basic services, unemployment rates of approximately 40%, and significant issues related to healthcare and education. 32% of residents have completed high school and only 3% have some higher education. 82% of households earn less than $170 per month.

Crime is also a major problem, and many families struggle to feed their children. Living conditions are very harsh and most households are extremely poor living in pop-up shacks, many without running water. The infection rates of HIV/AIDS and TB are estimated at 30% to 40%.

Despite these challenges the community is known for its vibrant culture, strong sense of community, and the resilience of its residents.

The Nika Foundation chose to focus on Masiphumelele and Masiphumelele High School because it is small enough to ensure that we have a targeted, direct, and immediate impact on learners by working in close coordination with established high integrity organizations such as the African Scholars Fund, IkamvaYouth, and MasiSports.