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Gugulethu is located in Western Cape
 Gugulethu shown within Western Cape
Location within Cape Town
Gugulethu is located in Cape Town
Gugulethu is located in South Africa
Gugulethu (South Africa)
Gugulethu is located in Africa
Gugulethu (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%
Time zone SAST (UTC+2)
Postal code (street) 7750, 7752, 7756

Gugulethu or Guguletu is a township 15 km from Cape Town, South Africa.[2] Though much more tranquil than it was under apartheid, Gugulethu is still a troubled area.


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). Currently all the streets have new names but the NY terminology is still predominant as residents are used to it.


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. Gugulethu is passionately called or referred to as "Gugs" by the locals which is a nickname stemming from the shortening of the name Gugulethu.


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 murders[edit]

  • In August 1993, Gugulethu was the site of the violent murder of a young white American woman, Amy Biehl, in the upheaval following the official end of apartheid and before the multi-racial election of 1994.[5]
  • In November 2010, Swedish tourist Anni Dewani was murdered in Gugulethu while on her honeymoon.[6]
  • On June 10, 2014, 62-year-old Mbuyiselo Manona was murdered in Gugulethu, in a cannibalistic event. Andrew Chimboza stabbed Manona, and removed his heart while he was still alive,[7] 'to show him that I am not a moffie [gay]'.[8]

Gugulethu Square Mall[edit]

The newest development in Gugulethu is the Gugulethu 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.[9][10][11] On 29 October 2009, police shot rubber bullets into a crowd of people protesting about the mall.[12]

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. ^ Sapa (16 November 2010). "Over 700 murders in Gugulethu since 2005". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 19 November 2010. 
  5. ^ Jan Herman (27 January 1994). "Amy Biehl Was a Casualty of the System". Los Angeles Times. 
  6. ^ Dan Newling (8 December 2014). "Dewani trial: what really happened and how did police get it so wrong?". The Guardian. 
  7. ^ "CTown man alive when heart ripped out – cop". The Citizen. 7 October 2014. Archived from the original on March 19, 2015. 
  8. ^ Simon Tomlinson, "Businessman who ripped out a man's heart and ATE it 'to prove he was not gay' apologises to victim's family and admits he 'exceeded the boundaries of self-defence'", Daily Mail, 3 February 2015.
  9. ^ Kim Saulse, "Six arrested for public violence at Gugs Square protest", Bush Radio, 30 October 2009.
  10. ^ Pearlie Joubert, "David vs Goliath in Gugulethu", Mail & Guardian, 21 November 2008.
  11. ^ "Police shoot residents in Sth Africa protest", Scoop, 30 October 2009.
  12. ^ "Six arrested for jobs protests at Gugulethu Mall Crowd says gathering was peaceful", Cape Argus, 29 October 2009.