Soweto Township Tour
We had 2 nights but only one full day in Johannesburg and we wanted to see as much as we possibly could. So we decided to do a guided tour of Constitution Hill and the Soweto township. We hired our own private guide and set off early one morning for this full day of adventure.
Soweto Brief History
Soweto, a city developed as a township under the apartheid system, was where most of the struggle against discrimination was fought. The name Soweto is an acronym, made up from the first letters of the words “south western township”.
This stop for us, was one of the most interesting in terms of the turbulent past of South Africa.
This prison that once help Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi as well as tens of thousands of ordinary men and women, is now a living museum that sheds a very graphic light on how prisoners were treated in the time of the apartheid.
On the same site, is South Africa’s highest court – Constitutional Court. The symbolism and consideration put into each and every aspect of this building is great.
The knowledgeable and informative guide (part of our ticket price for Constitutional Hill), explained the relevance of several elements such as the floor to roof hand carved doors, the sculpture depicting the country’s struggle in the lobby and the thoroughly considered furnishings in the court room itself.
Our guide took us through some of the regions in Soweto where people were living in one-room block ‘houses’.
The direct comparison of the richer people’s homes towering over these communities was a huge culture shock and a snap shot of African reality.
Orlando Towers In The Soweto Township
What an interesting and fascinating concept this was.
Two abandoned power station towers that had been repurposed to house an adventure park and local hangout.
Between the two decorated towers, you will see a suspension bridge which accesses a bungy jump, one tower is furnished inside with a free-fall net and the area is soon to home an underground soccer pitch and paint ball alley.
For those wishing to observe the adrenaline junkies from the safety of the sidelines, you can grab a local beer at the bar Chaf Pozi while enjoying the screams of those brave enough to take the plunge.
Mandala House Soweto Township
As they say…’When in Rome…’
What would a trip to Africa be without a visit to Nelson Mandela’s home.
On our way to Soweto our guide first took us to the house where Mandela’s third, and most recent wife Winnie, was living.
Interesting fact: Winnie Mandela sadly passed away the day after our trip to her house – 2ndApril 2018.
Later in the day, we went to Nelson Mandala’s original home house and museum now dedicated to share the story of Mandela’s family and reflect on the time he was imprisoned on Robben Island.
Interesting fact: the large tree to the back of the house, is where the umbilical cords of his children and grandchildren are planted!
Vilakazi Street Wander
A street most certainly worth the visit considering its claim to have once been home to two Nobel Prize winners – Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Due to its growing popularity, it was a busy street on the day of our visit; restaurants packed with diners and afternoon drinkers while the footpaths were lined with street sellers selling colourful, handmade goods. A buzzing atmosphere and perfect pit stop for our busy schedule.
Hecter Pieterson Memorial
Our last stop of the day certainly hit a cord. Our guide talked us through the day a group of school children participated in a peaceful protest against discrimination.
As we drove down the streets, we were informed of how apartheid police shot at the students when they refused to abandon their protest.
12-year-old Hector Pieterson was the first casualty of the event. The brutality of that time runs through this infamous photograph taken in the aftermath of that moment.
This memorial is both peaceful and haunting, representing the struggles of the apartheid time for the youth of South Africa.
So for now its goodbye and thanks for stoping by
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