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Road sign in Masiphumelele township
Road sign in Masiphumelele township
Masiphumelele is located in Western Cape
Masiphumelele is located in South Africa
Coordinates: 34°7′S 18°22′E / 34.117°S 18.367°E / -34.117; 18.367Coordinates: 34°7′S 18°22′E / 34.117°S 18.367°E / -34.117; 18.367
CountrySouth Africa
ProvinceWestern Cape
MunicipalityCity of Cape Town
 • Total0.39 km2 (0.15 sq mi)
 • Total15,969
 • Density41,000/km2 (110,000/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)
 • Black African89.4%
 • Coloured1.8%
 • Indian/Asian0.2%
 • White0.2%
 • Other8.5%
First languages (2011)
 • Xhosa58.1%
 • English7.6%
 • Afrikaans2.8%
 • Sotho1.6%
 • Other29.9%
Time zoneUTC+2 (SAST)
Postal code (street)

Masiphumelele is a township in Cape Town, South Africa, situated between Kommetjie, Capri Village and Noordhoek.

Initially known as Site 5, the township was renamed Masiphumelele by its residents, which is a Xhosa word meaning "let us succeed".

About 400-500 people first settled in the area in the 1980s. During apartheid residents were continually removed to the suburb of Khayelitsha, over 30 km away, but the numbers began to grow as apartheid began to unravel from 1990.

In 1990, about 8000 residents lived in the area, mostly in shacks, but by 2005, over 26000 people lived there, many in brick homes. In 2010, the population was estimated at 38000.[2] Many are from the old Ciskei bantustan in the Eastern Cape.

Amenities are scarce, with an overcrowded school, no police station, and an understaffed day clinic, while it's estimated that 30-40% of the community are infected with HIV and/or TB.[3] SHAWCO, the University of Cape Town Student's Health And Welfare Centres Organisation, runs weekly supplementary clinics from the Masiphumelele clinic.


Masiphumelele has been the site of numerous protests over the years. Most of the protests have been connected to service delivery and anger over corruption in government housing projects.[4][5]

On May 12, 2008 a series of riots started in the township of Alexandra (in the north-eastern part of Johannesburg) when locals attacked migrants from Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.[6] Many African nationals were threatened, assaulted and displaced in the wave of Xenophobic violence that swept through South Africa, and in the following weeks the violence spread to Cape Town.[7] Thousands of foreigners were displaced from Masiphumelele in the attacks of May 2008, most landing up at Soetwater refugee camp. Several days after immigrant-owned shops were looted and foreigners attacked, Masiphumelele residents publicly apologised and asked them to return.[8]

On May 2, 2011 a fire that started around 1 am engulfed and burned down an estimated 1500 informal and formal residences. The fire killed one and displaced an estimated 5000 people.

See also[edit]

Masiphumelele High School


  1. ^ a b c d "Sub Place Masiphumelele". Census 2011.
  2. ^ "MasiCorp Demographics". MasihumeleleCorporation. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  3. ^ "Living Hope Masi Page". Living Hope. Archived from the original on 16 January 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  4. ^ "Fears of more service delivery protests". Cape Times.
  5. ^ "Burning message to the state in the fire of poor's rebellion". BusinessDay.
  6. ^ "South African mob kills migrants". BBC. 2008-05-12. Retrieved 14 March 2010.
  7. ^ "SA leader orders army to deploy". BBC. 2008-05-21. Retrieved 14 March 2010.
  8. ^ "Tutu applauds Masiphumelele". Independent Online. Retrieved 14 March 2010.

External links[edit]