Baphumelele is located in the township of Khayelitsha (meaning “new home”), located 20 kilometres southeast of Cape Town. Initially an informal settlement in the late 1970s, Khayelitsha has grown into a community of over one million residents.
Khayelitsha is one of the most marginalised and poverty-stricken townships in South Africa. Many residents live in self-constructed wooden or corrugated tin shacks, without access to clean water, electricity, or sanitation. Basic education and health care facilities are lacking. The unemployment rate in Khayelitsha officially stands at a staggering 50%; in reality, the figure is unfortunately higher.
Khayelitsha has one of the highest incidences of HIV/Aids infection in all of South Africa – this in a country that the United Nations Aids Foundation recognizes as having the second highest HIV/Aids rates globally (behind India).
Reliable estimates suggest there are as many as 14,000 orphans in Khayelitsha, the majority as a result of the Aids pandemic. Whilst some 27% of adults are HIV positive, amongst expectant mothers this figure may be as high as 40%.