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Day 8

Soweto Tour

sunny 18 °C
View South Africa on grobarry's travel map.

Back on the coach to again travel back through Jo'burg, past Soccer City Stadium and on to Soweto. Drove through the streets of Soweto and experienced the contrasts of the squatter settlements and shaties (which still exist without power and water) and the quite urban areas with sealed roads etc. Mind you many of the houses are actually three houses in one numbered A, B and C in which three families live within three rooms (main bedroom, second bedroom and kitchen). For this the people pay up to 3000RND per month. Others have four rooms including a dining room for which they pay up to 5000Rnd per month.
Our tour guide described how she had been raised in a four room house. Her parents had one bedroom, she and her two sisters had the other bedroom and her four brothers slept in the dining room. That was until one of the brothers married and brought his wife in to take the girls room; they moved into the dining room and the boys other boys slept in the kitchen.

We visited the houses where Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu grew up. Walked down the street the the students from West Orlando High School marched on the fateful day and visited the Hector Petersen Memorial. Again a very well done museum with just too much information for a quick visit. Incongruously we then drove a couple blocks through more of the "middle class" sections of the city to have lunch at a bar/restaurant over the road from a primary school.

A very challenging day for me; there is no doubt that the freedom of the people from oppression is priceless but if things are better now than they were in 1976 I shudder to think what it must have been like in the shanty towns. I cannot understand how thinking adults can continue to have children in the numbers they do to live in such squalor. At the same time they have a pride that I do not see in our Aboriginal people. Everywhere you look there are people trying to turn a rand or two. Produce and curio stalls, second hand and new clothing stalls, hairdressing "tents", welding and mechanic shops appear on the side of the roads or inside house yards. With unemployment at 80%there are plenty of unoccupied people on the streets.

The kids are all on holidays for the World Cup and they are quite expert at tugging the heart strings. On the other hand we have had very little overt begging for money - even in Soweto.

Game day tomorrow!!!! Pray to your god for a miracle.

Posted by grobarry 10:20 Archived in South Africa Tagged tourist_sites

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Glad to hear that you are having a good trip - hopefully the Aussies can do better today than us Krauts did last night!!

by DuaneGalle

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