The silent, rolling hills of the Cape Peninsula engulf the buzzing community of Masiphumelele. Indeed, the landscape provides a contrast between the quiet luxury communities of Capri Village and Sunnydale that perch on its peaks, and the valley that contains the lively streets of Masiphumelele, known to locals simply as “Masi.” The peninsula is home to the poorest members of the Western Cape region, but also to the richest members of the province- but these roles are flipped depending on how one defines “rich” and “poor”. Yes, the stately columns of the mansions that flank the hills are gorgeous- but a sense of ubuntu is lacking on the deserted streets of Capri. Just across the street, people spill out from their homes onto the lanes of Masi, carrying babies on their backs, chatting with shopkeepers, and playing sports. Everyone seems to know each other, and moreover, wants to converse with each other- privacy is not a concept in Masi. While privacy is jealously guarded in many wealthy neighborhoods, these neighborhoods lack the hum of a tiny township in which energy is infectious and makes you want to get up from your TV and just live. This is the beauty of Masi- a town of water and fire.
Street Talk TV has been exploring Masiphumelele, and documenting the unique qualities of the town. We have spoken with members of a rugby program in town, the manager of a local creche, and various residents of the town. Each resident plays a unique and purposeful role in the makeup of the community. They exemplify the “fire”, or spirit, of the community, despite the floods of water that they have endured, both literally and metaphorically. Stay tuned to hear their stories.