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Emzini

Children singing at pre-school The woman in the chair is still in her pajamas.  She looked nervous when Mom pulled out her camera and asked to take a photo.  The hairdresser is curling her short, straightened hair under in tight curls. But the handful of candy and friendly banter from Ella, who runs Emzini Tours in Knyssa, makes this intrusion OK.  And more specifically, Ella, the charismatic black woman who lives here and who started this company with a white woman from Zimbabwe, makes this OK. And it probably also helps that much of the money from these trips into the township funds the charity work that Ella and Emzini undertake in this community.  And I suspect many people in the community know that, too. And so we spent a fascinating morning visiting a township that is very similar to many around South Africa ... and where so many black South Africans call home.  From afar, these communities look like a hodgepodge of shacks and small wood and block homes clustered up hillsides with splashes of color from laundry or paint.  They look run-down, and shambly and maybe unclean.  These are places we did not feel particularly welcome without an invitation. But with Ella as our invitation in, we were fortunate to be welcomed into this township graciously. What could have easily been a voyeuristic tour - and township "tours" are offered everywhere-instead was a warm and insightful visit. Mandela cement house with older wooden house ... And an amazing view The townships, she explained, were formalized after 1994 when Mandela took office and apartheid ended.  The government committed to build everyone a house.  The "Mandela Houses" are simple construction from cement blocks - one or two bedroom, indoor plumbing.  Some have additions.  Many replace the old wooden houses that pre-date them.  Some families keep their wooden house

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