A Bad Ex­pe­ri­ence in Langa

South African Country Life - - Your Letters - Joanna Sheb­son, via email Tony Elvin, founder of Airbnb Langa, re­sponds

I re­cently read your ar­ti­cle about the new Airbnb op­tions in Langa. While I think it is great to pro­mote th­ese women who are try­ing to make the most of their lives,

I think it is also im­por­tant to let the read­ers know about the safety. We were held up at gun­point in Langa, July 2017. We are a fam­ily of five and were vis­it­ing South Africa for the first time, and went on a town­ship tour. We were with a group of ten peo­ple and, on the last stop of the tour, were held up at gun­point in a shack by two armed rob­bers. They took our phones and cash. I was with three young kids aged 6-13.

If I knew that the tour was so unsafe I would never have gone. As much as I want to learn about the town­ship ex­pe­ri­enceI would never put my kids through such a trau­matic event. This is some­thing that will stay with them for­ever. (edited) This is the first I am hear­ing of this in­ci­dent, which must have been very trau­matic for you and I am so sorry to hear that this hap­pened here in Langa. Crime is a sad fact and nowhere in the world is im­mune. Langa has its safer ar­eas and less safe ar­eas. What makes one area safer than an­other is how one mit­i­gates against crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity. Poorer, unat­tended ar­eas with sub­stan­dard ser­vices, are more sus­cep­ti­ble to crime. All the Airbnbs fea­tured in the COUN­TRY LIFE ar­ti­cle are in a spe­cific area called the Langa Quar­ter that has a com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment model man­aged by iKhaya Le Langa, which has for the last six years been im­ple­ment­ing a cleaner, greener, safer strat­egy. We take the health and safety of our vis­i­tors very se­ri­ously and, in the last two years, have had more than 300 guests sleep in our home­s­tays in the Langa Quar­ter with­out in­ci­dent. Ikhaya le Langa has a close work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Airbnb to en­sure that both guests have a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence. Langa is an his­toric, im­por­tant com­mu­nity, and has been des­ig­nated a her­itage area of na­tional im­por­tance. A visit to Cape Town with­out a trip to Langa would be see­ing only one side of a very com­plex story. Langa is a joy­ful sub­urb and tourism is its lifeblood.

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