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Gugulethu is located in South Africa
 Gugulethu shown within South Africa
Coordinates: 33°59′S 18°34′E / 33.983°S 18.567°E / -33.983; 18.567Coordinates: 33°59′S 18°34′E / 33.983°S 18.567°E / -33.983; 18.567
Country South Africa
Province Western Cape
Municipality City of Cape Town
 • Councillor Melody Klaas (ANC) (Ward 40)
(Belinda) Ntombende Landingwe (Ward 41) (ANC)
Mandisa Matshoba (Ward 42) (ANC)
Faiza Adams (Ward 45) (DA)
 • Total 6.49 km2 (2.51 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 98,468
 • Density 15,000/km2 (39,000/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African 98.6%
 • Coloured 0.9%
 • Indian/Asian 0.1%
 • Other 0.4%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • Xhosa 88.6%
 • English 3.6%
 • Sotho 1.9%
 • Afrikaans 1.7%
 • Other 4.2%
Postal code (street) 7750, 7752, 7756

Gugulethu or Guguletu is a township 15 km from Cape Town, South Africa.[2] Nowadays many developments take place and have taken place to develop the townships into suburbs where life can flourish. Mzoli's, S'khomas Butchery, and The Gugulethu Sports Complex are some of the better known hotspots in Gugulethu.


The main route, Steve Biko Drive (formerly known as NY1), runs through the township. The town planners did not give names to any of the roads, all were simply numbered. NY1 stood for "Native Yard 1",[3] Gugulethu at the time not having been named as such and being considered simply as an extension of the adjoining township of Nyanga. There has been strong pressure for the NY terminology to be dropped and for the streets to be renamed. This resulted in the City of Cape Town renaming NY1 as Steve Biko Drive in September 2012. The renaming process continues and the City recently announced that streets will be named after, amongst others, Albert Luthuli, Amy Biehl, Ray Alexander and the "Gugulethu Seven" (the latter being a group who were fatally ambushed by security police in Gugulethu in 1986).


The name is a contraction of igugu lethu, which is Xhosa for our pride. Gugulethu, along with Nyanga, was established in the 1960s due to the overcrowding of Langa, which was the only black residential area for Cape Town at the time. During the Apartheid era black South Africans were not permitted to live in the city of Cape Town, and many people were removed from areas such as District Six to Gugulethu, Nyanga and Langa. The predominant language in Gugulethu is Xhosa.


According to data collected by the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) over 700 people were murdered in Gugulethu between 2005 and 2010. "This amounts to one murder every two-and-a-half days for five consecutive years."[4]

Notable Events[edit]

The newest development in Gugulethu is the Guguletu Square Mall which was developed by Old Mutual, Tokyo Sexwale's Group 5 and local businessman Mzoli Ngcawuzele. The development has been controversial with claims of corruption, nepotism and significant protests against the mall's employment practices.[5][6][7] On 29 October 2009, police shot rubber bullets into a crowd of people protesting about the mall.[8]

In 2010, British Swede Anni Dewani was murdered while touring the Gugulethu slums on her honeymoon. The murder was allegedly arranged by her husband, Shrien Dewani, who has been extradited. [9]

Active organisations in Gugulethu[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Gugulethu". Census 2011. 
  2. ^ Guguletu Today
  3. ^ letter to The Cape Times from Ed Coombe, 26 September 2012
  4. ^ "Over 700 murders in Gugulethu since 2005". Mail & Guardian. 16 November 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010. 
  5. ^ Six arrested for public violence at Gugs Square protest, 30 October 2009
  6. ^ David vs Goliath in Gugulethu, Nov 21 2008
  7. ^ Police shoot residents in Sth Africa protest, 30 October 2009
  8. ^ Six arrested for jobs protests at Gugulethu Mall Crowd says gathering was peaceful, 29 Oct 2009
  9. ^ South Africa honeymoon murder husband arrested in UK