Soweto is an incredible township and I have to say – head there and see it!! Not only is it one of the most famous townships in South Africa but it has a lot of history and more importantly things to see and do. Top 5s are difficult but I’m going to try! I’ve had to narrow it down but here goes… [I:http://www.articleslayer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/JonnyBlair48.jpg]
1. Spend a night with a local family: [I:http://www.articleslayer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/JonnyBlair49.jpg]
This was a highlight of my Soweto experience, as I stayed with Rachel in her home in Orlando East in Soweto. It gives you an insight into what life is about here in this famous township. Just sitting watching TV with her and her son was a happy night.
2. Go Inside Nelson Mandela’s House: [I:http://www.articleslayer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/JonnyBlair8.png]
You have to make the trip to 8115 Vilakazi Street in Soweto. This is Nelson Mandela’s former house and now runs as a fully functional museum. You can walk all around the house where Nelson once lived and get your fix of Apartheid history while you are at it. This is easy to walk to if you are staying in Soweto Backpackers, and the streets are generally safe to walk around. Entrance was 10 Rand for me at the time (as I blagged a student entry – but bought plenty of souvenirs in the Hector Pieterson Museum – which didn’t make my top 5 but I also recommend it). I believe the entrance fee is now 20 Rand to get in – well worth it and remember you are also contributing for the up keep of this amazing community.
3. Drink with the locals in a Shebeen: [I:http://www.articleslayer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/JonnyBlair5.jpg]
You cannot visit Soweto without heading into a Shebeen! These local bars where people mingle to drink and chat are an essential part of the culture. You will get to meet and chat to the locals, enjoy a few beers with them and get to understand a bit more about life in Soweto. The beer you will get is pinky in colour and not strong at all – you will share it communally. Get in there and chat to the locals. I loved it and you will too!
4. Do A Bicycle Tour:
Doing a bicycle tour in Soweto is another in my top 5 – why? Because it is the best way to get around and get out to other parts of the massive township! Walking isn’t enough – Soweto is massive and it’s poky streets and hoardes of people about mean that by driving you won’t really enjoy it or see it properly – so hire a bike or become part of the Soweto bicycle tour and you’ll get to visit a few different parts of the township, meeting locals and seeing sights you won’t get by walking. Do it!
5. Hector Pieterson Museum:
Situated in the place where a young boy Hector Pieterson was shot dead, The Hector Pieterson Museum is great place to read about the Soweto Uprising of 1976 and the history of the township. The museum makes my top 5 and is accompanied by tributes and information boards posted along the corner and nearby streets.
So that’s my top 5 – Soweto is great – real raw South African township culture on display.
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Author: Jonny BlairThis author has published 8 articles so far.