Saturday in Soweto

Scenes from Soweto, where we went on a tour with Past Experiences. We hopped on a quite comfortable minibux taxi from Joburg city centre to the renovated Vilakazi street (where Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu lived), then visited the nearby Hector Pieterson memorial museum, commemorating the 1976 student uprising and named after the first student to die during the violence. We planned to take a Metrorail train from Phefeni station to iKwezi but after an hour when two scheduled trains did not show up (a bit of the true Soweto experience) we gave up and took minibus taxis instead, then walked to Dobsonville for lunch with the locals at a shebeen.

The Bree Street taxi rank aka the Metro Mall – apparently the only shopping centre in Joburg without car parking, but with several floors of minibus taxi. 150,000 people pass through here per day on their way to and from the city centre from Soweto and the suburbs. Like so often in Joburg, guards came up to us to say we couldn’t take photos here without permission.

Mandela merchandise.

Artwork commemorating the schoolkids who participated in the 1976 protests.

Soweto’s famous cooling towers, from a decommissioned power station and now used as a viewing platform and for bungee jumping.

Phefeni station, happily selling R5 tickets for non-existent trains.

Stuff you can’t bring into the station: machine guns, axes, knives, spears and local knobkierrie clubs. (They forgot to add a picture of a train).

Nice clean station, it even had a special commuter radio station playing.

One hour later, still no train, working on our suntans.

A garage take-away business in iKwezi.

A rare clutch of informal shacks – despite perceptions abroad, most of Soweto actually consists of small but decent houses.

Dobsonville market.

Buffet lunch with the locals at a shebeen in somebody’s garage. Food included quite delicious braai meat, corn meal pap, a kind of wet bread that’s identical to Czech knedliky, salad, some spicy vegetable curries and chicken feet.

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One response to “Saturday in Soweto

  1. Cool! This will be fun to read.

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