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“An educational visit”

South Western Townships
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Johannesburg Tour: Cycle Soweto with a Local Guide
Ranked #4 of 172 things to do in Johannesburg
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
London, Ontario
Level Contributor
476 reviews
214 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 293 helpful votes
“An educational visit”
Reviewed June 30, 2013 via mobile

I attended a short tour of Soweto with a local guide and learned a great deal about its residents and how they live. Soweto is much more than a shanty-town as I had preconceived it. It's residents are proud people with an interesting history. It is the home of bishop Tutu and of course Nelson Mandela. There is widespread poverty but also some remarkable prosperous neighbourhoods where the residents look out for each other. Well worth a visit.

Visited June 2013
1 Thank Geoscientist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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725 reviews from our community

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Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
40 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed May 26, 2013

People live here for heavens sake, would we be asked to rate Newton, MA or Beverly Hills? This is crass Trip Advisor.

Visited May 2013
3 Thank Africanjade
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
25 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great History Lesson”
Reviewed May 23, 2013

Loved the people! Everyone took great pride in conveying the history of the area and how it has developed into the community of today.

Visited May 2013
Thank Phbell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
157 reviews
64 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 164 helpful votes
“Tour Soweto with a full heart and generous wallet”
Reviewed May 20, 2013

Like Soho in New York, Soweto is an abbreviation, short for “South Western Township”. But, unlike Soho, it remains a challenge to know whether a visit to Soweto is ‘proper’, and it’s a conflict still – even moreso after visiting – to know the right answer.

There is something voyeuristic about touring Soweto that makes it ‘feel’ inconsiderate. Likely, there is an argument that the tourist dollar contributes to its economy and, if truly the case, would encourage you to undertake the tour with a full heart and generous wallet.

There are absolutely some “must-see’s” and perhaps, if isolated, would make the tour more palatable:
• Vilakazi St (only Street in the world to have produced two Nobel Peace Prize winners; Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu) and its refurb’d pavements, and public artwork’d entrance, are fitting recognition and acknowledgements, appropriate to any significant tourist destination in the world;
• Mandela House, 8115 Orlando West; where Mandela lived with his first wife, Evelyn (1946-1957) and second wife, Winnie (from 1958) and where he returned after his release from prison (in 1990 for only 11 days), but where Winnie remained until their divorce in 1996;
• Hector Pieterson Museum; at the hands of the South African police, the 13 year old shooting-victim who, alongside his sister Antoinette; and bearer, Mbuyisa Makhubo, were immortalised in a compelling and upsetting photograph, and unwittingly became the poster-children of the 1976 student uprising;
• the decommissioned Orlando power station twin-towers; colourful now in graffiti-art and considered Township’s most distinctive and world-famous signature landmarks; you can bungee and rap jump, power and internal swing and take the lift ride to the viewing platform.

“Sight-seeing” through the poor, and poorer again, areas is difficult to see and difficult to do; if one should do so at all? It feels compromising to take a ‘tour’ to look upon misfortune.
However, a visit to the towers and Vilakazi St and its two museums is a must. I met Hector Pieterson’s sister, Antoinette, outside the museum; a reminder of how recent this ‘history’ actually is.

I recommend Peter Mushaba of Mushaba Tours and Transfers, who also does Cradle of Humankind, Gold & Diamond mines, Johannesburg & Pretoria Tours, among others; any of which can be customised.

Visited May 2013
4 Thank SoozSolo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
123 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“An Eye Opener”
Reviewed May 12, 2013

We went to the townships expecting to see only slums but found an a much more diverse community. It was interesting and well worth the time.

Visited April 2013
Thank LeeGil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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