Soweto & Alex
SowetoAlthough most of Soweto was built in the 1950s and 60s under the days of high Apartheid, the first people were moved to modern day Soweto in 1905 to what was then known as Klipspruit (modern day Pimville). The name Soweto, given in 1963, is an acronym for South Western Township. Soweto is now home to about 2 million people where housing ranges from informal settlements to standard Soweto 4 roomed houses, to up-market wealthy suburban homes.
There is a lot to do and see in Soweto. The Hector Pieterson Museum marks the Soweto uprising of 1976, while Mandela's humble Soweto home in Vilikazi St has been transformed into a museum. Another famous site is Regina Mundi, Soweto's largest Catholic Church which played a central role as a meeting place and a place of safety during the struggle years. Freedom Square at Kliptown, where the Freedon Charter was signed in 1955, has been redesigned (in a rather soulless and I think horrible urban redevelopment) and renamed Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication. There is lots to see in terms of street life - the taxi rank at Baragwanath is a hive of activity - and there are restaurants, shebeens, spaza shops as well as new shopping malls which have developed in the last few years. Tour guides will take you to these places and many of the guides run quite small tours so it possible to have quite tailor made tours.
- One of the best ways to see Soweto is on a cycling or tuk-tuk tour. Several of our guests have done so and have loved it. For rates click here or contact email@example.com. Sadly Lebo died in early 2022 during COVID. An extraordinary entrepreneur his business continues to be run very efficiently and offers great local experiences. Located in Pooe Street in Orlando West, you will need to get there via Uber or ask Mr T here at Liz at Lancaster to take you. Phone 011 936 3444 to book.
- For tours with Peter Mashaba see www.mashabatours.co.za
- Abey Pheega is very flexible and will often take account of special requests +27 82 979 5589
- Run by the Joburg Red City Bus Tours, a minibus tour of Soweto leaves 3 times a day from Gold Reef City for a 2 hour tour with 6 stops along the way. You can get a combined Joburg and Soweto ticket. For rates and to book see www.citysightseeing.co.za/joburg
You can bungee jump in a 40m free fall from the cooling towers or try the swing between the towers www.orlandotowers.co.za +27 (0)71 674-4343 or +27(0)12 345-5114 Then afterwards enjoy some shisa nyama (barbecued meat) and pap (maize porridge) at Chaf Pozi. Open Wednesdays to Fridays 11 till late, Saturday lunch and afternoon only and Sunday lunch to early evening www.chafpozi.co.za +27 11 463 8895.
AlexandraVisiting Alexandra is a totally different experience from Soweto. A mere 4 km from the heart of the wealthy CBD of Sandton, and only an area of 8 km2 Alex as it is known, is home to some 350-400,000 people. You can contact Harry Nakeng (phone or What’s App) on 074 261 8531.
Abey Pheega will also take you around Alex. 082 979 5589. So, if you can fit it in, try to make a visit to Alex a part of your itinerary.
For the adventurous there are tours of Diepsloot and very impoverished settlement north of Sandton. See www.lizatlancaster.co.za/blog/joziwalks-bikesmustrise-exploring-diepsloot
Contact Lucky for bicycle tours 073 126 0923 or Blackbiteprod@gmail.com