Soweto: Wikis


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Reconstruction and Development Programme housing in Soweto
RDP Housing in Soweto
Johannesburg, including Soweto, from the International Space Station
Soweto is located in Gauteng
Location within Gauteng
Coordinates: 26°15′58″S 27°51′57″E / 26.26611°S 27.86583°E / -26.26611; 27.86583Coordinates: 26°15′58″S 27°51′57″E / 26.26611°S 27.86583°E / -26.26611; 27.86583
Country South Africa
Province Gauteng
Metropolitan municipality City of Johannesburg
Area [1]
 - Total 150 km2 (57.9 sq mi)
Population (2008)[1]
 - Total 1,300,000
 Density 8,666.7/km2 (22,446.6/sq mi)
Time zone South Africa Standard Time (UTC+2)
Apartheid in South Africa
Events and Projects

Sharpeville Massacre
Soweto uprising · Treason Trial
Rivonia Trial · Mahlabatini Declaration
Church Street bombing · CODESA
St James Church massacre
Cape Town peace march · Purple Rain


ANC · IFP · AWB · Black Sash · CCB
Conservative Party · ECC · PP · RP
Broederbond · National Party


P. W. Botha · Oupa Gqozo · D. F. Malan
Nelson Mandela · Desmond Tutu
F. W. de Klerk · Walter Sisulu
Helen Suzman · Harry Schwarz
Andries Treurnicht · H. F. Verwoerd
Oliver Tambo · B. J. Vorster
Kaiser Matanzima · Jimmy Kruger
Steve Biko · Mahatma Gandhi
Joe Slovo · Trevor Huddleston


Bantustan · District Six · Robben Island
Sophiatown · South-West Africa
Soweto · Sun City · Vlakplaas

Other aspects

Afrikaner nationalism
Apartheid laws · Freedom Charter
Sullivan Principles · Kairos Document
Disinvestment campaign
South African Police

Soweto[2] is an urban area of the city of Johannesburg in Gauteng, South Africa, bordering the city's mining belt in the north. Its name, being an English syllabic abbreviation for South Western Townships[3], refer to its origins as a Black township under South Africa's Apartheid government. The population has historically been overwhelmingly Black and some of the watershed events in the struggle against Apartheid occurred in the township.

Formerly a separate municipality, it is now incorporated in the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality.



The history of African townships south west of Johannesburg that would later form Soweto was propelled by the increasing eviction of Africans by city and state authorities. Africans had been drawn to work on the gold mines that sprang up after 1886. From the start they were accommodated in separate areas on the outskirts of Johannesburg, such as Brickfields (Newtown). In 1904 British-controlled city authorities removed African and Indian residents of Brickfields to an "evacuation camp" at Klipspruit municipal sewage farm (not Kliptown, a separate township) outside the Johannesburg municipal boundary, following a reported outbreak of plague.[4] Two further townships were laid out to the east and the west of Johannesburg in 1918. Townships to the south west of Johannesburg followed, starting with Pimville in 1934 (a renamed part of Klipspruit) and Orlando in 1935.[5]


World War II

Industrialisation during World War II drew thousands of black workers to the Reef. They were also propelled by legislation that rendered many rural Black Africans landless. Informal settlements developed to meet the growing lack of housing. The Sofasonke movement of James Mpanza in 1944 organised the occupation of vacant land in the area, at what became known as Masakeng (Orlando West).[6][7] Partly as a result of Mpanza's actions, the city council was forced to set up emergency camps in Orlando and Moroka, and later in Central Western Jabavu.[citation needed]

Baragwanath Hospital

Soweto's only hospital was built during World War II. The Royal Imperial Hospital, Baragwanath, was built in today's Diepkloof in 1941 for convalescing British and Commonwealth soldiers. John Albert Baragwanath owned a hostel, The Wayside Inn, from the late 19th century near the hospital's current location.[citation needed]. Field Marshall Jan Smuts noted during the opening ceremonies that the facility would be used for the area's black population after the war. In 1947 King George VI visited and presented medals to the troops there. From this start grew Baragwanath Hospital (as it became known after 1948), reputedly the world's largest hospital.[8] In 1997 another name change followed, with the sprawling facility now known as Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital in honour of the South African Communist Party leader who was assassinated in 1993 by white extremists.[9]

Government policy from 1948

After the Afrikaner-dominated National Party gained power in 1948 and began to implement apartheid, the pace of forced removals and the creation of townships outside legally-designated white areas increased. The Johannesburg council established new townships to the southwest for black Africans evicted from the city's freehold areas of Martindale, Sophiatown, and Alexandra. Some townships were basic site and service plots (Tladi, Zondi, Dhlamini, Chiawelo, Senaoane, 1954), while at Dube middle class residents built their own houses. The first hostel to accommodate migrant workers evicted from the inner city in 1955 was built at Dube. The following year houses were built in the newly proclaimed townships of Meadowlands and Diepkloof.[10]

In 1956 townships were laid out for particular ethnic groups as part of the state's strategy to sift black Africans into groupings that would later form the building blocks of the so-called "independent homelands." Spurred by a donation of R6-million to the state by Sir Ernest Oppenheimer in 1956 for housing in the area, Naledi, Mapetla, Tladi, Moletsane and Phiri were created to house Sotho and Tswana-speakers. Zulu and Xhosa speakers were accommodated in Dhlamini, Senaoane, Zola, Zondi, Jabulani, Emdeni and White City. Chiawelo was established for Tsonga and Venda-speaking residents.[10]

In 1963, the name Soweto (SOuth WEstern TOwnships) was officially adopted for the sprawling township that now occupied what had been the farms of Doornkop, Klipriviersoog, Diepkloof, Klipspruit and Vogelstruisfontein.

Soweto Uprising

Soweto came to the world's attention on June 16, 1976 with the Soweto Uprising, when mass protests erupted over the government's policy to enforce education in Afrikaans rather than English. Police opened fire in Orlando West on 10,000[citation needed] students marching from Naledi High School to Orlando Stadium, The rioting continued and 23 people, including two white people, died on the first day in Soweto. Among them was Dr Melville Edelstein, who had devoted his life to social welfare among blacks. He was stoned to death by the mob and left with a sign around his neck proclaiming 'Beware Afrikaaners'. The impact of the Soweto protests reverberated through the country and across the world. In their aftermath, economic and cultural sanctions were introduced from abroad. Political activists left the country to train for guerrilla resistance. Soweto and other townships became the stage for violent state repression. Since 1991 this date and the schoolchildren have been commemorated by the International Day of the African Child.


In response, the apartheid state started providing electricity to more Soweto homes, yet phased out financial support for building additional housing.[4]

Soweto became an independent municipality with elected black councilors in 1983, in line with the Black Local Authorities Act.[citation needed] Previously the townships were governed by the Johannesburg council, but from the 1970s the state took control.[4]

Soweto's black African councilors were not provided by the apartheid state with the finances to address housing and infrastructural problems. Township residents opposed the black councilors as puppet collaborators who personally benefited financially from an oppressive regime. Resistance was spurred by the exclusion of blacks from the newly formed tricameral Parliament (which did include Whites, Asians and Coloreds). Municipal elections in black, coloured, and Indian areas were subsequently widely boycotted, returning extremely low voting figures for years. Popular resistance to state structures dates back to the Advisory Boards (1950) that co-opted black residents to advise whites who managed the townships.

Further popular resistance: incorporation into the City

In Soweto popular resistance to apartheid emerged in various forms during the 1980s. Educational and economic boycotts were initiated, and student bodies were organized. Street committees were formed, and civic organizations were established as alternatives to state-imposed structures. One of the most well-known "civics" was Soweto's Committee of Ten, started in 1978 in the offices of The Bantu World newspaper. Such actions were strengthened by the call issued by African National Congress's 1985 Kabwe congress in Zambia to make South Africa ungovernable. As the state forbade public gatherings, church buildings like Regina Mundi were sometimes used for political gatherings.

In 1995 Soweto became part of the Southern Metropolitan Transitional Local Council, and in 2002 was incorporated into the City of Johannesburg.[citation needed] A series of bomb explosions rocked Soweto in October 2002. The explosions, believed to be the work of the Boeremag, a right wing extremist group, damaged buildings and railway lines, and killed one person.


As Soweto was counted as part of Johannesburg in South Africa's 2001 census, recent demographic statistics are not readily available. It has been estimated that 65% of Johannesburg's residents live in Soweto.[citation needed] However, the 2001 Census put its population at 896,995[citation needed] - or about one-third of the city's total population.

Soweto's population is predominantly black. All eleven of the country's official languages are spoken, and the main linguistic groups (in descending order of size) are Zulu, Sotho, Tswana, Venda, and Tsonga.


Orlando Power Station Cooling Towers


Soweto landmarks include:


The N1 next to Soweto
The Soweto Highway with dedicated taxiways

The suburb was not historically allowed to create employment centres within the area, so almost all of its residents are commuters to other parts of the city.[citation needed]


Metrorail operates commuted trains between Soweto and central Johannesburg. Soweto stations are at Orlando, Nancefield, Kliptown, Tshiawelo and Midway.[11]


The N1 Western Bypass skirts the eastern boundary of Soweto. There is efficient road access for many parts of the region along busy highways to the CBD and Roodepoort, but commuters are largely reliant on trains and taxis.

The N12 forms the southern border of Soweto.

A new section of the N17 road (South Africa) is under construction that will provide Soweto with a 4 lane highway link to Nasrec.[12]

The M70, also known as the Soweto Highway, links Soweto with central Johannesburg via Nasrec and Booysens. This road is multi lane, has dedicated taxiways and passes next to Soccer City in Nasrec.

A major thoroughfare through Soweto is the Golden Highway. It provides access to both the N1 as well as the M1 highways.

Minibus taxis are a popular form of transport. In 2000 it was estimated that around 2000 minibus taxis operated from the Baragwanath taxi rank alone.[13]

A Bus rapid transit system, commonly know as Rea Vaya provides transport for around 16 000 commuters daily.[14]

PUTCO has for many years provided bus commuter services to Soweto residents.


The area is mostly composed of old "matchbox" houses, or four-room houses built by the government, that were built to provide cheap accommodation for black workers during apartheid.

Soweto is an English abbreviation, standing for "South Western Townships". Street after street in this area is lined with matchboxes; however, there are a few smaller areas where prosperous Sowetans have built houses that are more similar in stature with those in more affluent suburbs. Many people who still live in matchbox houses have improved and expanded their homes, and the City Council has enabled the planting of more trees and the improving of parks and green spaces in the area.

Hostels are another prominent physical feature of Soweto.[15] Originally built to house male migrant workers, many have been improved as dwellings for couples and families.

Society and culture


Being part of the urban agglomerations of Gauteng, Soweto shares much of the same media as the rest of Gauteng. There are however some media sources dedicated to Soweto iteself:

  • Soweto TV is a community television channel, available on DStv channel 150.
  • The Sowetan newspaper has a readership of around 1.6 million.[16]

Museums, momuments and memorials


Soweto is credited as one of the founding places for kwaito, which is a style of hip-hop specific to South Africa.[17][18] This form of music, which combined many elements of house music, American hip-hop, and traditional African music, became a strong force amongst black South Africans. The spread of Soweto in popular culture worked both ways, as American hip-hop artists Hieroglyphics rap about the terrible conditions and changing social order in their song "Soweto," saying that cowardice has ruled this area, but how now the "gems," or black youth, need to express themselves.[19] This appears to be Hieroglyphics attempt to urge a critical, political version of hip-hop in South Africa.



  • The Soweto Open tennis tournament, part of the Challenger Tour is annually hosted in Soweto.
  • The annual Soweto marathon is run over a 42.2 kilometres (26.2 mi) course through Soweto.



By 2003 the Greater Soweto area consisted of 87 townships grouped together into Administrative Regions 6 and 10 of Johannesburg.[20]

Estimates of how many residential areas make up Soweto itself vary widely. Some say that Soweto comprises 29 townships [21], others find 32.[citation needed] Still others talk of 34[22] or even 50[citation needed] "suburbs." The differences may be due to confusion arising from the merger of adjoining townships (such as Lenasia and Eldorado Park) with those of Soweto into Regions 6 and 10. But the total number also depends on whether the various "extensions" and "zones" are counted separately, or as part of one main suburb. The 2003 Regional Spatial Development Framework arrived at 87 names by counting various extensions (e.g. Chiawelo's 5) and zones (e.g. Pimville's 7) separately. The City of Johannesburg's website groups the zones and extensions together to arrive at 32, but omits Noordgesig and Mmesi Park.[citation needed]

The list below provides the dates when some of Soweto's townships were established, along with the probable origins or meanings of their names, where available:

Suburbs of Soweto
Name Established Description
Chiawelo 1956 "Place of Rest" (Venda)
Dhlamini 1956 Unknown, Nguni family name. Michael Mabaso also comes from here.
Dobsonville including Dobsonville Gardens
Doornkop "Hill of Thorns" (Afrikaans)
Dube 1948 Named for John Langalibalele Dube (1871-1946), educator[23], newspaper founder, and the first ANC president (1912-17)[24]
Emdeni 1958 "At the family" (Zulu, from umndeni - family), including extensions
Jabavu 1948 Named for Davidson Don Tengo Jabavu (1885-1959), educator and author
Jabulani 1956 "Rejoice" (Zulu)
Klipspruit 1904 "Rocky Stream" (Afrikaans), originally a farm.
Mapetla 1956 Someone who's angry
Mmesi Park Sotho name for somebody who burns things on fire
Mofolo 1954 Named for Thomas Mofolo (1876-1948), Sotho author, translator, and educator
Molapo 1956 Name of a Basotho tribe, sotho name for fetique
Moletsane 1956 Name of a Batuang chief
Moroka 1946 Named for Dr James Sebe Moroka (1891-1985)[25], later ANC president (1949-52) during the 1952 Defiance Campaign
Naledi 1956 "Star" (Sotho/Pedi/Tswana), originally Mkizi
Noordgesig "North View" (Afrikaans)
Orlando 1932 Named for Edwin Orlando Leake (1860-1935), chairman of the Non-European Affairs Department (1930-31), Johannesburg mayor (1925-26)
Phiri 1956 "Hyena" (Sotho/Tswana)
Pimville 1934 Named for James Howard Pim, councillor (1903-07), Quaker[citation needed], philanthropist, and patron of Fort Hare Native College[citation needed]; originally part of Klipspruit
Power Park In the vicinity of the power station
Protea Glen Unknown (The protea is South Africa's national flower)
Protea North
Protea South
Senaoane 1958 Named for Solomon G Senaoane (-1942), first sports organiser in the Non-European Affairs Department
Tladi 1956 "Lightning" (Sotho)
Zola 1956 "Calm" (Zulu/Xhosa)
Zondi 1956 Unknown family name(Zulu)

Other Soweto townships include Braamfischerville, Killarney, Mzimhlope, Phefeni, Phomolong, Snake Park, and White City[citation needed]


Slums, Soweto.
Housing development project, Kliptown.

Many parts of Soweto rank among the poorest in Johannesburg, although individual townships tend to have a mix of wealthier and poorer residents. In general, households in the outlying areas to the northwest and southeast have lower incomes, while those in southwestern areas tend to have higher incomes.

The economic development of Soweto was severely curtailed by the apartheid state, which provided very limited infrastructure and prevented residents from creating their own businesses. Roads remained unpaved, and many residents had to share one tap between four houses, for example. Soweto was meant to exist only as a dormitory town for black Africans who worked in white houses, factories, and industries. The 1957 Natives (Urban Areas) Consolidation Act and its predecessors restricted residents between 1923 to 1976 to seven self-employment categories in Soweto itself. Sowetans could operate general shops, butcheries, eating houses, sell milk or vegetables, or hawk goods. The overall number of such enterprises at any time were strictly controlled. As a result, informal trading developed outside the legally-recognized activities.[4]

By 1976 Soweto had only two cinemas and two hotels, and only 83% of houses had electricity. And up to 93% of residents had no running water. Using fire for cooking and heating, resulting in respiratory problems that contributed to high infant mortality rates (54 per 1,000 compared to 18 for whites, 1976 figures.[4]

The restrictions on economic activities were lifted in 1977, spurring the growth of the taxi industry as an alternative to Soweto's inadequate bus and train transport systems.[4]

In 1994 Sowetans earned on average almost six and a half times less than their counterparts in wealthier areas of Johannesburg (1994 estimates). Sowetans contribute less than 2% to Johannesburg's rates[citation needed]). Some Sowetans remain impoverished, and others live in shanty towns with little or no services. About 85% of Kliptown comprises informal housing.[citation needed] The Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee argues that Soweto's poor are unable to pay for electricity. The committee believes that the South African government's privatization drives will worsen the situation. Research showed that 62% of residents in Orlando East and Pimville were unemployed or pensioners.[26]

There have been signs recently indicating economic improvement. The Johannesburg city council began to provide more street lights and to pave roads. Private initiatives to tap Sowetans' combined spending power of R4.3 billion were also planned[citation needed], including the construction of Protea Mall, Jabulani Mall, the development of Maponya Mall, an upmarket hotel in Kliptown, and the Orlando Ekhaya entertainment centre. Soweto has also become a center for nightlife and culture.

In popular culture

Songs alluding to Soweto

Late singer/songwriter Joe Strummer, formerly of the band The Clash, referenced Soweto in his solo album, Streetcore (song: "Arms Aloft"), as well as in The Clash track, "Where You Gonna Go (Soweto)", found on the album London Calling (Legacy Edition).[27]

The UK music duo, Mattafix, has a song called Memories Of Soweto on their 2007 album Rhythm & Hymns.

Soweto is mentioned in the anti-apartheid song Gimme Hope Jo'anna by Eddy Grant. The line "While every mother in a black Soweto fears the killing of another son" refers to police brutality during apartheid.

Dr. Alban's song "Free Up Soweto" was included in the 1994 album Look Who's Talking.

Mexican group Tijuana No! recorded the song "Soweto" for their first album "No". In reference to the city and the movements.

It is also the name of a song by the rap group Hieroglyphics.

Fiction and cinema

The marches by students in Soweto are briefly mentioned in a novel by Linzi Glass named Ruby Red, which had been nominated for the Carnegie Medal in 2008. Soweto is also mentioned in the novel, Waiting for the Rain by Sheila Gordon.

Soweto was characterized in the American film Stander. The film presented the story of Andre Stander, a rogue police captain who sympathized with the irrational state of apartheid and its corruption by becoming a bank thief. The Soweto uprising riots provided Stander's breaking point in the film.

In 2006, Sara Blecher and Rimi Raphoto made the popular documentary "Surfing Soweto", about young kids "surfing" in the roof of Soweto trains, and the social problem this represents.

The 2009 film District 9 was shot in Soweto, specifically Chiawelo. The plot involves a species of aliens who arrive on Earth in a starving and helpless condition, seeking aid. The originally benign attempts to aid them turn increasingly oppressive due to the overwhelming numbers of aliens and the cost of maintaining them, and to increasing xenophobia on the part of humans who treat the intelligent and sophisticated aliens like animals while taking advantage of them for personal and corporate gain. The aliens are housed in shacks in a slum-like concentration camp called "District 9", which is in fact modern-day Soweto; an attempt to evacuate the aliens to another camp leads to violence and a wholesale slaughter by South African mercenary security forces (a reference to historical events in "District 6", a black neighborhood subjected to forced segregation during the apartheid years). The parallels to apartheid South Africa are obvious but not explicitly remarked on in the film.

Tsotsi (2005) is placed and set in Soweto.

Famous Sowetans

Native Sowetans

Soweto was the birthplace of:

Other residents

Mandela's House in Orlando
  • Gibson Kente (1932-2004), playwright.
  • Irvin Khoza (born January 27, 1948, is a South African football administrator and Chairman of Orlando Pirates.
  • Aggrey Klaaste (1940-2004), newspaper journalist and editor.
  • Nelson Mandela (born 1918) spent many years living in Soweto. His Soweto home in Orlando is currently a major tourist attraction.
  • Lilian Ngoyi (1911-1980), anti-apartheid activist, who spent 18 years under house arrest in Mzimhlope.
  • Steven Pienaar (born 1982), Everton F.C. and national team football player
  • Hector Pieterson (1964-1976), the first student to be killed during the 1976 uprising in Soweto. A picture where the dying Hector is carried away by a man became a famous press photo. Today a memorial and museum named after him in Orlando West reminds of the 1976 Student Uprising.
  • Percy Qoboza (1938-1988), newspaper journalist and editor.
  • [Gerard Sekoto] (1913-1993), artist who lived in Kliptown before emigrating to France in 1947.[28]
  • Desmond Tutu (born 1931), cleric and activist who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s, through his opposition to apartheid.

Other interest

Well-known artists from Soweto, besides those mentioned above, include:

Films that include Soweto scenes:

See also


  • Soweto: A History. South Africa: Maskew Miller Longman. 1998. ISBN 0636030334. 
  • Tessendorf (1989). Along the Road to Soweto: A Racial History of South Africa. Atheneum. ISBN 0689314019. 
  • Soweto, 16 June 1976. South Africa: Kwela Books. 2001. ISBN 9780795701320. 
  • Soweto - A South African Legend. Germany: Arnoldsche. 2007. ISBN 9783897900134. 
  • Hopkins, Pat (1999). The Rocky Rioter Teargas Show. Cape Town: Zebra. ISBN 1868723429. 
  • Glaser, Clive (2000). Bo Tsotsi - The Youth Gangs of Soweto. United Kingdom: James Currey. ISBN 9780852556405. 
  • Holland, Heidi (1995). Born in Soweto - Inside the Heart of South Africa. Penguin. ISBN 9780140244465. 


  1. ^ a b "Soweto Integrated Spatial Framework". City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality. May 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  2. ^ Pronunciations in English differ. Among those cited in major dictionaries are /sɵˈweɪtoʊ/, /sɵˈwɛtoʊ/, and /sɵˈwiːtoʊ/.
  3. ^ Pirie, G.H. Letters, words, worlds: the naming of Soweto. African Studies, 43 (1984), 43–51.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Carole Rakodi, ed (1997). "5 Johannesburg: A city and metropolitan area in transformation". The urban challenge in Africa: Growth and management of its large cities. II The "mega-cities" of Africa. United Nations University Press. ISBN 9280809520. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  5. ^ "Chronology of events in the making of Soweto". Official website of the City of Johannesburg. 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  6. ^ "THE STRUGGLE FOR A PLACE IN THE CITY". SAHistory. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  7. ^ "". SAHistory. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  8. ^ "Just Another Day at the World's Biggest Hospital". National Public Radio. 2003-12-01. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  9. ^ "Tembisile 'Chris' Hani". SAHistory.,c.htm. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  10. ^ a b "Chronology of events in the making of Soweto". City of Johannesburg. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  11. ^ "West Wits". Metrorail (South Africa). Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  12. ^ "R360m ‘Nasweto’ highway to be completed by year-end". Engineering News (Creamer Media). 2009-06-26. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  13. ^ "Bara taxi rank set for major upgrade". City of Johannesburg. 2003-02-19. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  14. ^ "16 000 commuters use Rea Vaya daily". SABC. 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  15. ^ da Silva, M & Pirie, G.H. Hostels for African migrants in greater Johannesburg. GeoJournal, 12 (1986), 173–182.
  16. ^ "Sowetan introduces jobs online". 2006-01-17. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  17. ^ Magubane, Zine. “Globalization and Gangster Rap: Hip Hop in the Post-Apartheid City”, in: Basu, Dipannita & Lemelle, Sidney J. (eds.) (2006) The Vinyl Ain’t Final: Hip Hop and the Globalization of Black Popular Culture. London: Pluto Press; pp. 208-29
  18. ^ Basu, Dipannita. "The Vinyl Ain't Final". Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  19. ^ Lyrics: Hieroglyphics One Bit Trip: Soweto
  20. ^ "Regional Spatial Development Framework". City of Johannesburg. June 2003. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  21. ^ "Soweto". saweb. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  22. ^ "Background to the study area: Soweto". University of Pretoria. 2004. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  23. ^ Millard, J. A. (1999). "Dube, John Langalibalele (Mafukuzela)". UNISA. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  24. ^ "John Langalibalele Dube". African National Congress. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  25. ^ "Dr James Sebe Moroka". SAHistory. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  26. ^ "The Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee". University of KwaZulu-Natal. 2004. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  27. ^ "London Calling (Legacy Edition)". Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  28. ^ Davie, Lucille (2004-11-01). "Gerard Sekoto's 'illustrious album'". Retrieved 2009-11-16. 

External links

External media
Senator for Illinois, Barack Obama, at the Hector Pieterson Museum in August 2006
King George VI presenting medals to the troops at Royal Imperial Hospital
Guardian Unlimited audio recording of Antoinette Sithole on the Soweto uprising
Soweto Uprising (2007) at the Internet Archive
BBC video of the Soweto uprisings

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Johannesburg/Soweto article)

From Wikitravel

Soweto [1] is located in Johannesburg, South Africa.


Soweto is the only place in the world to have raised two Nobel Prize winners. Both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu both have residences on Vilakazi Street in Orlando West.

The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital [2] is the largest hospital in the world with over 3000 beds.

The name Soweto was first used in 1963 to describe the groups of townships to the south west of Johannesburg, and it is an acronym for South Western Townships. These townships were originally established after an outbreak of bubonic plague in the inner city slums of Johannesburg in 1904, but under the apartheid government, many black South Africans were forcefully relocated from the city and its suburbs to Soweto and other townships.

Get around

It is best to visit Soweto as part of an official tour group by a SATSA [3] accredited tour guide.

Several of tour operators are available:

  • Imbizo Tours [4]. Tel:+27 (0)11 838-2667.
  • Simkile [5]. Tel:+27 (0)11 608-2640.
  • Soweto By Nite [6]. Tel:+27 (0)82 748 1588.
  • [7]. Tel:+27 (0)11 326 1700.
Soweto Mural
Soweto Mural
  • Credo Mutwa Village, Corner Ntsane and Majoeng streets, Central Western Jabavu, +27 (0)11 930-1813 (+27 (0)83 693-2003). Open daily from 6AM to 6PM. Restored Zulu and Sotho villages  edit
  • Hector Pietersen Museum, 8288 Maseko Street, Orlando West, +27 (0)11 536-0611. Open 10AM to 5PM Mon to Sat and 10AM to 4PM on Sun. Try to allow at least an hour here. Great bookshop inside.  edit
  • Mandela Family Museum, 8115 Ngakane Street, Orlando West, +27 (0)11 936-7754. Open 9:30AM to 5PM daily.  edit
  • Regina Mundi Church, 1149 Khumalo Street, Moroka, +27 (0)11 986-2546. The people's parliament.  edit
Soweto Housing
Soweto Housing
  • Walk through Baragwanath Taxi rank area and eat some "Runnaways" ( chicken feet )with the locals or try some "Smily's" ( Sheeps head )
  • Visit a real Shebeen (drinking place), not just the touristy places
  • Maponya Mall, Old Potchefstroom Road, Klipspruit. New mall (opened 20 September 2007) with 200 stores, cinemas and restaurants.  edit
  • B's Place, 5541 Shuenane Street, Orlando East, +27 (0)11 935-4015.  edit
  • Sakhumzi Restaurant, 6980 Vilakazi Street, Orlando West, +27 (0)11 536-1379 (+27 (0)83 337-6925, , fax: +27 (0)11 939-4427), [8].  edit
  • Wandies, 618 Makhalamele Street, Dube, +27 (0)11 982-2796 (), [9]. Offers some of the best indigenous South African menus, including Mogodu (tripe) and pap. Put you business card on the wall with those of many visitors before.  edit
  • The Back Room, Shop 20, Pimville Square Shopping Center, Modjadji Str, +27 (0)11 938-9388.  edit
  • The Rock, 1987 Vundla Drive, Rockville, +27 (0)11 986-8182, [10]. Night club and restaurant  edit
  • Botle Guest House, 648 Monyane St, Dube, +27 (0)11 982-1872 (fax: +27 (0)11 286-9010).  edit
  • Dakalo Bed and Breakfast, 6963 Inhlwathi St, Orlando West, +27 (0)11 936-9328 (+27 (0)82 723-0585, , fax: +27 (0)11 935-4380).  edit
  • Ekhaya Guesthouse, 8027 Bacela St, Orlando West, +27 (0)11 939-2850 (+27 (0)83 472-9390, ).  edit
  • Lolo's Guesthouse, 1320 Diepkloof Ext, +27 (0)11 985-9183 (+27 (0)82 332-2460, , fax: +27 (0)11 528-0498).  edit
  • Vhavhenda Hills, 11749 Mampuru St, Orlando West, + 27 (0)11 936-0411 (+27 (0)82 213-1630, , fax: +27 (0)11 936-0411).  edit

Stay safe

By and large Soweto is a pretty safe place for tourists to visit. It is not the easiest place to drive around in by yourself so if you are going to stay there overnight get the bed and breakfast owner to meet you on one of the main roads and follow them in or get a transfer in. If you are going to do a tour, go with one of the registered tour companies (see above or contact SATSA ). Try to make sure that the tour company is using a local Soweto/Johannesburg guide as makes for better insight to the place and its history.

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