Johannesburg Travel Blog› entry 1 of 24 › view all entries
After being picked up by Johan, our tourleader, we first drop our luggage at the hotel in one of the suburbs of Johannesburg. We're told not to go downtown, because it is very unsafe. Since we're only staying here for one night, there's no time for that anyway. In the afternoon our bus takes us to the South Western Township (Soweto). This getto houses 3.5 to 4 million "swartes" (black people) and until mid 1980's there was no electricity here. Although that it is said not to be wise to wander into Soweto on your own, we do not feel threatened in one way or another at all. The people are very friendly and we are even invited to take a look in one of the rackety houses (in which it must be at least 50 degrees Celsius). There's no running water, there are two taps in every street that are shared by te inhabitants.
In a different part of the getto stands the house where Nelson Mandela used to live, it's not very impressive and it's suffered several fires, so there aren't many authentic items in the house anymore. Further down the street stands the (bigger) house of Desmond Tutu, who only lives there for about a month a year. The next famous house we drive by is that of Winnie Mandela, which is severely guarded by surveillance cameras and is surrounded by a 2 metre high wall. Not very beautifull, really.
Our last stop today is the Hector Peterson Memorial and Museum, which gives you a lot to think when it comes to equality and racism. Hector is the boy that was shot during the riots in the 1980's in Soweto and instantaniously became the symbol and martyr of the black peoples in South Africa. Unfortunately Apartheid is also part of the history of South Africa. The museum is definitely worth time and effort, but since much of the information is in written word, it is better to (unlike us) have a good night's sleep before you visit it.
At night we have a very nice dinner, and the people in our party seem very nice as well, but still we call it an early night to catch some z's.