Khayelitsha's ekasi fine dining and an award-winning 'shack theatre'

Khayelitsha - the largest township in South Africa - can sometimes be invisible to the throngs of visitors that travel to Cape Town.

Even more so to many Capetonians, who view it as a dangerous place that should be avoided.

But what lacks in aesthetics it makes up for in spirit and drive, as the people who call it home are building restaurants, community centres and public spaces to improve their neighbourhoods and attract visitors from all over.

READ: All-access tourism: A weekend away in Khayelitsha

Food and drinks

Shisa nyamas, walkie talkies and hearty mqa - Khayelitsha's streets are filled with aromas of classic South African cuisine - sometimes with a twist. 

A favourite lunch spot is 4Roomed Ekasi Culture - a lifestyle concept that offers a fine dining experience from the brains of MasterChef contestant Abigail Mbalo.

inside of a township restaurant

4Roomed Ekasi Food Restaurant. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

fine dining pap from 4roomed ekasi

Delicious pap with a twist. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

Another spot to try out is the three-storey Milk Restaurant and Bar that opened in 2018, and apparently President Cyril Ramaphosa has frequented the establishment a few times while in Cape Town.

If you're looking for something a little healthier, check out the Spinach King Café in Khwezi Crescent. From bread to smoothies, everything is made from spinach and aims to promote a healthy lifestyle in the township.

ALSO SEE: Discover iKasi: Putting an end to 'poverty safaris' with a new generation of township entrepreneurs 

What to do

If you're looking for a little direction in the sprawling township, book a tour with Khayelitsha Travel that was started by someone from the community itself.

You can show your support to the 18 Gangster Museum, an organisation that employs ex-gangsters who tell their stories to help keep kids off the wrong path. They have various tour offerings in Khayelitsha to also check out.

ex-gangster and visitor in fake jail cell

One of the museum's guides tells his story inside a fake cell. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

ex-gangster telling a tour group his story

(Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

If you're looking for a show, the Makukhanye Art Room is Khayelitsha's shack theatre, where artists entertain their own community with original productions. They have big plans to turn their self-built theatre into a fully-fledged modern theatre, and are currently raising funds for it. Check their Facebook page to see what's playing.

graffiti of a woman and chicken in a township

(Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

traditional south african dance performance in a m

A performance at the Makukhanye Art Room. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

You can also peruse some beautiful artwork and handcrafted items at the Khayelitsha Art Hub Space situated on the cycling academy grounds of Velokhaya. They are busy building up a coffee shop as part of the space, which will make it a perfect spot to watch Velokhaya's young champions take on the mountain biking course. 

SEE MORE: Langa Quarter: New tourism enterprise to open in Cape Town

graffiti of bike on containers

(Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

modern african portrait artwork

(Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

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