In the early 1980's the Apartheid government decided to move all 'legal' black
people from existing townships to a new township. The government classified people
as legal if they had had already lived in the area for ten years. The new township
was called Khayelitsha which means 'New home'. At the same time the government
planned to move all illegal people to Transkei, a homeland created in the eastern
part of the country. People living in existing townships near Cape Town resisted
this move. One community leader said that they would had to kill them first then
move their bodies to Khayelitsha because that was the only way they will move
there. Fighting broke out in townships between the government and people
who lived there. This fighting caused people to move to Khayelitsha, saying
they are forced to move to Khayelitsha because of the violence and moving to
Khayelitsha was not their intention It was exactly what the government wanted
them to do.
In 1990 the population of Khayelitsha was estimated at 450,000 and unemployed at 80 per cent. Roughly 14 per cent lived in small core houses, 54 per cent in serviced shacks, and 32 per cent in unserviced ones. Hardly anyone had electricity and most inhabitats had to fetch water from taps. Social control was largely maintained by unofficial, unpopularly elected councils. Today Khayelitsha is home to half a million people.