Soweto is a symbol of the New South Africa, caught between old squatter misery and new prosperity, squalor and an upbeat lifestyle, its vibrant city which still openly bears the scars of the Apartheid past and yet shows what’s possible in the New South Africa.
Infused with its rich history of the struggle against apartheid and the abuzz with the energy of the city of gold, Soweto is a must-see for any tourist or local.
We entered Soweto at Diepkloof, where we drove through the old part of Diepkloof where the descendants of those that were first relocated out of Alexander to Soweto in the 60’s and 70’s, still reside today.
Some of the MUST SEE places when The X-treme park, that is a multi-functional, two hectare park that has been built in Diepkloof in less than 24 hours. The park forms part of the City of Joburg’s commitment to “green“ Soweto and redefine open spaces in the area. The park boasts with water features, a soccer field, playground, a multi-purpose court, splash pool, landscaped lawns, park furniture, concrete walkways, outdoor gym and an amphitheatre with a big screen. The park is poised to become the leading outdoor, recreation hub in the southern quadrant of Johannesburg.
The Orlando Power Station, when it was active, was considered one of the most advanced in the Southern hemisphere. The colourful Orlando Towers are now not only one of the most distinctive landmarks in Soweto; they are also the world’s first bungee jump venue, between two cooling towers.
Vista University- Soweto Campus that is now part of the Johannesburg University established by the Apartheid Government in 1982. The prime motivation was to ensure tertiary education within the black townships rather than campuses that were reserved for whites.
Water Sisulu Square of Dedication. Kliptown was established in 1903 and is Joburg’s oldest urban all-race settlement. The construction of the square, the heart of the township, began in 2003. It was built using stone, which refers to the word “klip” in the name “Kliptown”. The columns, topped with sculptures, symbolising the partakers in the Freedom Charter as well as the adoption of the charter.
The Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication was opened in 2005, on the 50th anniversary of the meeting. It consist of two squares, each 100 meters by 100 meters in size, made of nine smaller squares, with large crosses inside them, representing the votes cast in the first democratic elections in 1994.
The Soweto Theatre is the cultural heartbeat of Jabulani Soweto, it is more than a theatre- there are several performance spaces, parkland, public art and other amenities. Dedicated to the arts, it is here that the community is able to find expression.
Elephant houses were built in the 70’s after devastating wind storms in the area. Built with concrete walls and a roof that resembles an elephants back. These houses accommodate 2 to 3 families, and are not able to be added or built onto, as most houses in Soweto are.
The Hector Pieterson Museum became the iconic image of the 1976 Soweto Uprising, where school children protested over the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in township schools. A photograph, taken by Sam Mzima, of the dying Hector being carried by a fellow student, made headline news worldwide. He was killed at the age of 12 when the police opened fire on protesting students. By the end of the fateful day 556 children were dead. For years, 16 June stood as a symbol of the resistance to the brutality of the apartheid government. Today, it’s known as National Youth Day- a day on which South Africans honour young people and their needs.
Wandies Place is a local restaurant in Dube, Soweto, operating out of what used to be a typical Soweto four-roomed house. Wandies serves mainly traditional local cuisine such as umngqusho( stamped corn and bean stew), morogo (wild spinach) and chakalaka ( a simple, spicy dish of onions, tomatoes and often beans). No individual orders are taken as food is served buffet-style. There are always a number of meat dishes on the buffet, but vegetarians are also catered for with a wide variety vegetables and salads.
Vilakazi Street is the only street in the world that has seen two Nobel Peace Prize winners as residents. Nelson Mandela lived here in a house built in 1945, moving in with his first wife Evelyn where his son was later born. A few houses down the road is the house of internationally known and respected anti-apartheid icon, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Orlando Soccer Stadium was built in 1959 and originally home to the Johannesburg Bantu football association. The Orlando Stadium serving Soweto for over 4 decades was the intended destination for the June 16th 1976 student protest. The stadium became an icon of the struggle against Apartheid, holding a special place in the people of Soweto hearts.
Do not miss out on this lifetime experience book your tour to Soweto today!
Thank you Ulysses Tours & Safaris
for sponsoring our transport to Soweto.
Your friendly service was appreciated.
– CAA Members 2013
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