THIS IS MY HOME, SAYS MDANTSANE’S WHITE RESIDENT
Pic caption: Tony Lynch at his house in Mdantsane, for him home is where his heart is.
Tony Lynch resides in Mdantsane and is one of the few white South Africans who swapped the comforts of the suburban lifestyle for the hardship associated with township life. Coming from parents of German and Irish descent, Lynch was born and bred in Cape Town and fell in love with the township of Mdantsane when he started working there as a lecturer.
“I met my wife, a Xhosa woman here in Mdantsane and after we got married I decided to buy a house here in township. For me it was all about convenience because the school I teach at is close to where I stay as well as the shops,” he said.
He feels that contrary to the stereotype that the township is a dangerous place, especially for white people to reside in, he has no regrets about moving to the township.
“In the beginning my wife was very paranoid and would always want to protect me but my neighbours accepted me from the beginning. Now I have become some sort of a celebrity as I attend local funerals and traditional functions, my wife and I are always greeted by locals and they are used to seeing us around the kasi”
Lynch admits that he is still taken aback by the reaction of both black and white people as he finds himself having to answer questions about his choice of residence.
“Many people are shocked when they hear that I stay in the township. White people would ask questions like, “ is it safe to stay there or do you not fear for burglaries and how do you sleep at night?, I jokingly tell them that criminals steal from them in the suburbs to sell for me in the township”.
He feels saddened by the high unemployment rate in the Mdantsane and is a huge champion of community development.
“Joblessness is a huge problem here because many young people are out of jobs and there is lack of skills to enable them to get jobs in Mdantsane. In my local ward meetings I have suggested to the councilor to open a skills centre here in our area but that fell on deaf ears. Imagine this is a second biggest township but we have only one technical school and one College which are both situated in NU 1.
Despite the slow improvement and lack of basic amenities, Lynch does not see himself moving out of the Mdantsane soon. He feels attached to his friends and acquaintances and enjoys meeting on weekends for braai at places like eSilarheni in NU11, where they chat about different issues.