City Space: A team visit to the Hangberg Playground

One evening in February a few members of our Future Cape Town team visited the playground in Hangberg, Hout Bay. Driving up into Hangberg it is clear that the community is poor. The houses are small and makeshift structures nestle between more formalised houses. There are shops that operate out of crates. Much like the favelas of Rio, it is raised above the rest of Hout Bay and despite being an economically depressed area, has one of the most spectacular views of anywhere in Cape Town.

The playground is at the centre of the community, both literally and figuratively. We were pleased to discover it was full of children, who were running around playing soccer, volleyball, and spinning each other on a merry-go-round. A few mothers were watching them from their windows in the flats above the playground.

The site is barren – it is mostly tarred and has no trees, very little grass and not much in the form of jungle-gyms. The equipment that is there is old and run down. But the children do not let this put them off – they kick bottles around and a few had even made an impromptu slide from the wheelchair path next to the stairs. They were sitting on pieces of chip-board and sliding down the concrete.

The retaining wall that faces the playground is covered in graffiti but on the other side, facing outwards, is painted “Our Community, Our Pride.” We hope soon there will be even more to be proud of there.

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