10 Biggest Townships In South Africa (2023)

When you hear the term “township” in South Africa, you should understand that it is often referred to as the usually underdeveloped racially segregated urban locations in the country. They were usually erected on the periphery of towns and cities. But we aren’t delving deeply into history here. What we are about in this article is to examine the top ten biggest townships in South Africa.

So, while there are several townships in the country, some are much pronounced than others in terms of population, and we will be exploring them here. As you will get to see, some townships are more coordinated than others. I listed the top ten of these keenly populated townships in South Africa.

Top 10 Biggest Townships In South Africa

1. Soweto

This is a popular place in South Africa whose full meaning is South Western Townships. It is located in the suburb of Johannesburg and is majorly dominated by blacks. It is the largest township in South Africa with a population that is over a million people. Interestingly, eleven out of the official languages in South Africa are spoken in Soweto. A lot of people reside here due to one reason or the other, and it comes first on the list.

2. Tembisa

Tembisa is the second largest township in South Africa, and it is situated on the northern side of Kempton Park. It pulled its name from a Nguni word that means promise and hope (the correct spelling ought to be Thembisa). With a population that is around 463,109, Tembisa was established by folks that were filled with promise and hope of a brighter tomorrow for those living there.

3. Katlehong

Katlehong was created back then in 1945 and it has evolved into a high-density community in Gauteng. The place has six informal settlements in the southern part. There are over 400,000 people living in this township, but it is unfortunate that it is so overcrowded (it has been said that people there have set up shacks for rent. Although it is regarded as the third biggest township in South Africa, the area, together with Thokoza and Vosloorus, is the second biggest black township in the country.

4. Umlazi

Umlazi has a reputation of being the only one with its own registration plate in South Africa. With a population that is around 404,811, the township is filled with several private and government investments, and also has 26 sections that it is divided into. Umlazi can boast of its own police stations and clinics too.

5. Soshanguve

Soshanguve town, with a population that is estimated to be around 403,162, is located in Gauteng province, Soshanguve is on the fifth spot on the list of biggest townships in South Africa, and is filled with folks from different ethnic groups.

6. Khayelitsha

Khayelitsha is another large township in South Africa, and it is pretty unique in its own right. With a population that is estimated to be around 391,749, Khayelitsha is regarded as the fastest growing township in the country (which is pretty interesting). Not only black Africans live here, but also whites and others ethnicities.

7. Mamelodi

Next is Mamelodi. The township is also a big one in South Africa filled with an estimated 334,577 people. It was set up during the apartheid government in Pretoria (Gauteng province). It is a famous area too

8. Mitchells Plain

Mitchells Plain is one of the largest suburbs in the country. It was made known that up to 310,485 people live in Mitchells Plain, which explains why it was here. The area can boast of some big shopping centers as well as a central business district. Located between Khayelitsha and Muizenberg on the Cape Flats, Mitchells Plain has some level of advantage when compared with some other townships in South Africa. It is expected that relevant stakeholders will keep pushing for appropriate growth in this place.

9. Ibhayi

Ibhayi township is located around Port Elizabeth and has a population that is estimated to be around 237,799. It should also be added that the township has sixteen subdivisions.

10. Sebokeng

Sebokeng has a population of around 218,515 residents. Of course, this means that the township is much larger than several others in the country who are nowhere close to its population. The place is located around the city of Vanderbijlpark and its lingua franca in SeSotho. This language is pretty popular in the township, and many of the residents of Sebokeng are knowledgeable in that regard. It should also be added that Sebokeng in Sesotho is a “gathering place”. While different people from different racial groups can be found there, the township is predominantly filled with blacks.

 

Conclusion

So, while there are several other big townships in South Africa, these ones are the biggest in the country, as they are filled with lots of residents (and some of them, as you have seen up there, are trying to evolve into something much better). According to stats, Soweto remains the largest and is the only township in the country with a population that is above a million. Of course, as the population increases, we imagine what will become of them in the years to come.