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Outside Mzolis.jpg
Guguletu Supermarket.jpg
Pavement Meat Market.jpg
Gugulethu Seven Memorial Panorama.jpg
From top, Mzoli's restaurant & butchery. A spaza shop/grocery run out of an informal house (centre left). A roadside meat market operating out of a household (centre right). The Gugulethu Seven Memorial (bottom).
Gugulethu is located in Western Cape
Gugulethu is located in South Africa
Gugulethu is located in 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
CountrySouth Africa
ProvinceWestern Cape
MunicipalityCity of Cape Town
Main PlaceCape Town
 • CouncillorMelody Klaas (ANC) (Ward 40)
(Belinda) Ntombende Landingwe (Ward 41) (ANC)
Mandisa Matshoba (Ward 42) (ANC)
Faiza Adams (Ward 45) (DA)
 • Total6.49 km2 (2.51 sq mi)
 • Total98,468
 • Density15,000/km2 (39,000/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)
 • Black African98.6%
 • Coloured0.9%
 • Indian/Asian0.1%
 • Other0.4%
First languages (2011)
 • Xhosa88.6%
 • English3.6%
 • Sotho1.9%
 • Afrikaans1.7%
 • Other4.2%
Time zoneUTC+2 (SAST)
Postal code (street)
7750, 7752, 7756

Gugulethu (often misspelt as "Guguletu") is a township in the Western Cape, South Africa and is 15 km from Cape Town.[2] Its name is a contraction of igugu lethu, which is Xhosa for our pride. The township was established along with Nyanga in the 1960s.[3]


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",[4] 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.

Black residents living in Windermere were forcibly moved to Gugulethu when it was declared a black township. Windermere was declared by Apartheid regime to be a colored area.[5]

Gugulethu was one of the first townships in Cape Town to have a community information technology Center to provide training in multimedia and youth development.[6]

Places of interest[edit]

The 'Gugulethu Seven Memorial' was built to commemorate the life of seven activists that were ambushed and killed by the South African security forces on March 3, 1986. The activists were members of uMkhonto weSizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC).[7] The seven murdered were Jabulani Godfery Miya, Zandisile Zenith Mjobo, Zola Alfred Swelani, Mandla Simon Mxinwa, Themba Mlifi, Zabonke, John Konile, and Christopher Piet. On Human Rights Day 2000, the memorial was unveiled.[8]

  • The Cape Town Jazz Safari is a tour which highlights musical history and jazz in Gugulethu.[9]
  • Gugulethu Square was created in 2009 as a central business district in the township.[10][11]
  • Gugulethu Indoor Sports Complex is an indoor all year round community facility.[12]
  • Mzoli is a Tshisa Nyama in Gugulethu. It is a meat market and a party. Customers buy meat that is cooked on the spot and accompanied by music. It is stated that it attracts about 30,000 people in a single weekend.[13][9]
  • Liziwe's Guest house is owned by Liziwe Ngcokoto. It opened in 2005 and is a member of Cape Town Tourism and Chamber of Commerce.[14]
  • Maboneng Township Arts Experience in Gugulethu and Langa. Tours that turn homes into art galleries where local artists and crafters turn their homes into art galleries. This is an entrepreneurship project.[15]
  • Ntonga Music School – in Gugulethu [16]

Notable people[edit]


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."[18]

In a 2017 study of the 50 most violent cities in the world, Cape Town ranked number 15. Latin America cities ranked the highest with having 42 cities. Brazil having 17, Mexico 12, and Venezuela having five.[19]

Notable incidents[edit]

  • In March 1986, South Africa's Apartheid security murdered seven young black men. The incident became known as The Gugulethu Seven. The seven men were: Zandisile Zenith Mjobo, Zola Alfred Swelani, Mandla Simon Mxinwa, Godfrey Jabulani Miya, Themba Mlifi, Zabonke John Konile and Christopher "Rasta" Piet. They were members of the military wing of the African National Congress known as Umkhonto we Sizwe.[20]
  • In 2017, Major-General Andre Lincoln stated during his testimony while under cross-examination in the Western Cape High Court that police officers removed evidence from the scenes of government-ordered crimes such as The Gugulethu Seven in the 1980s.[21][22]
  • 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.[23] In 1998, four men were convicted of Amy's murder. They were pardoned by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Ms. Biehl's family supported the release of the four men. They started the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust in the townships to work with youth. The foundation's goal to empower young disadvantaged youth by using education and culture to deter crime and drugs. An Amy Biehl Memorial site was created in Gugulethu and tours into the township to see the memorial and visit some of the schools where programs were created by the Amy Biehl Foundation.
  • In November 2010, Swedish tourist Anni Dewani was murdered in Gugulethu while on her honeymoon.[24] Anni Dewani's husband became a suspect in the trial of her murder. He fought a three and a half year battle against extradition to South Africa. Accusations and confusions by the accused suspects in the murder that the car-jacking and crime were staged by the billionaire husband Shrien Dewani.
  • On June 10, 2014, 62-year-old Mbuyiselo Manona was murdered in Gugulethu by Andrew Chimboza. Chimboza stabbed Manona multiple times. Various news outlets stated that Andrew ate Manona's heart. Chimboza denied it.[25][26] Chimboza pleaded guilty at the Western Cape High Court of stabbing Mbuyiselo Manona. He did not mention in court anything about removing or eating Manona's heart.[27][28][29]
  • On the evening of the 2 November 2020 the Gugulethu massacre took place at a home in NY78 in which 8 people died and one was injured.[30][31]

Organisations and projects in Gugulethu[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Gugulethu". Census 2011.
  2. ^ Church, St. Joan of Arc. "Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Community - St. Joan of Arc Church".
  3. ^ "Gugulethu Township | South African History Online". Retrieved 2019-12-27.
  4. ^ Letter to The Cape Times from Ed Coombe, 26 September 2012.
  5. ^ Leander (8 November 2013). "Gugulethu Township".
  6. ^ "Gugulethu".
  7. ^ Leander (8 November 2013). "Gugulethu Township".
  8. ^ "Gugulethu Seven Memorial".
  9. ^ a b "Gugulethu, Cape Town: The Official Guide". 18 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Gugulethu Square - Home". Gugulethu Square.
  11. ^ "Gugulethu Gets Large Shopping Mall -".
  12. ^ "Gugulethu Sports Centre - Noero Architects".
  13. ^ "Directions from Cape Town to Mzoli's in Gugulethu".
  14. ^ "Liziwe's Guest House in Gugulethu, Cape Town".
  15. ^ "Maboneng Township Arts Experience".
  16. ^ "Visiting Ntonga Music School In Gugulethu South Africa - Playing for Change". 15 June 2012.
  17. ^ "Celebrating 8 of the Most Influential Black South African Women Writers". 25 July 2016.
  18. ^ Sapa (16 November 2010). "Over 700 murders in Gugulethu since 2005". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Remembering the Gugulethu Seven". Retrieved 2019-12-27.
  21. ^ "Apartheid security police lured youth 'to their slaughter' - ex-Mandela cop".
  22. ^ "Apartheid-era police officers 'decorated' for violent acts - ex-Mandela cop".
  23. ^ Jan Herman (27 January 1994). "Amy Biehl Was a Casualty of the System". Los Angeles Times.
  24. ^ Dan Newling (8 December 2014). "Dewani trial: what really happened and how did police get it so wrong?". The Guardian.
  25. ^ Sesant, Siyabonga. "'Rehabilitation of cannibal killer unlikely'".
  26. ^ "CTown man alive when heart ripped out – cop". The Citizen. 7 October 2014. Archived from the original on March 19, 2015.
  27. ^ "Gugulethu 'heart eater' pleads guilty to murder". 2 February 2015.
  28. ^ "'Cannibal' sentenced to 18 years - IOL News".
  29. ^ "'Cannibal' was coerced into ripping out heart, court hears".
  30. ^ "'Boko Haram' vs 'Guptas': winner-takes-all battle behind Gugulethu shooting". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 2020-11-04.
  31. ^ Fisher, Shamiela. "Gugulethu mass shooting death toll rises to 8, police still hunting shooters". Retrieved 2020-11-04.