SAEP works mainly in Philippi, one of the largest townships in Cape Town. We are dedicated to working in an environment where poverty is unacceptably high and education levels are worryingly low – in Philippi only ⅓ of the population has passed grade 12. We hold a deep passion for bringing about equality and we see education as a key tool in addressing social problems. With well over 15 years of experience in Philippi we have a clear understanding of the local context and we have built strong relationships on the ground.
Philippi faces many social problems, including lack of education, violent crime, substance abuse, environmental degradation and a rise in the number of residents with HIV/AIDS. Schools in Philippi are often overcrowded, with low pass rates and are under-resourced with few extra-curricular activities available to students. The average household income is R3,200 or less, indicating that many residents hold low income jobs or live on social grants. Successful graduates often move away from the township, leaving learners with few role models and little motivation to challenge local job seeking behaviours or believe that they can make something of themselves. Lack of information, networks and opportunities trap many into continued poverty and under-productivity.
Philippi today is one of the largest townships in Cape Town. Its boundaries follow along Lansdowne Road, Duinefontein Road, Vanguard Drive and the R300 (Adlard, 2009) and the area is situated in what is referred to as the Cape Flats.
Philippi’s history starts from the nineteenth century; the first community of local residents is recorded in 1833, however its developments and substantial residential growth emerged in the early 1980s. Originally called “Die Duine”, (the Dunes), Philippi was mainly used for grazing until the 1970s and a few farms existed in the area. Like most black South African Townships, the history and development of Philippi is linked to apartheid policies. Most people in Philippi townships came from the former Ciskei and Transkei homelands and settled Nyanga, Langa, Gugulethu and later in new squatter areas such as Crossroads, Browns Farm and SamoraMachel. Philippi increasingly became a place of refuge from the political conflict and violence in the former homelands (City of Cape Town, 2007).
Another one of the major factors contributing to the growth in the number of residents in the Philippi area was when farms in Mitchells Plain were eliminated. This resulted in a large number of labourers being deposed and having to move elsewhere as they did not fall under categories of the apartheid state’s racial housing relocation process (Adlard, 2009).
SAEP commissioned a study of Philippi to be conducted with the aim of producing a profile of the community. The importance of this lies in understanding the community in all its facets and in doing so to be able to address the needs of SAEP students that come from the area through a more holistic view of their lives and living conditions.
TOTAL POPULATION OF 191 025
(based on 2011 census)