Johannesburg Tours

Today Soweto – an acronym for South Western Townships – is recognized the world over as being a vibrant hub of thought leaders, musical prodigies, sporting wonders and modern thinkers … but this was not always the case.

Today George Harrison and George Walker are widely credited as the two men who first found gold in the Main Reef area on a farming outcrop in Langlaagte in February 1886. This discovery prompted an influx of fortune-seekers from all over the world unlike anything that had been seen before.

After many years of sustained growth, the government of the day thought it fit to separate communities along racial lines, splitting whites from blacks, and in the 1930’s Soweto was born. In the period after the National Party won the general elections in 1948, several racially discriminating laws were introduced to suppress black lives, and Soweto often found itself at the forefront of the resistance.

Among many other momentous events, Soweto was most notably flung into the world attention on 16 June 1976 during the Soweto uprisings when mass protests erupted in resistance of the governments policy to enforce an Afrikaans education instead of the learner’s native languages. Police opened fire on a crowd of school children killing 23 people, the first of whom was 13-year-old Hector Pieterson. Today the Hector Pieterson Museum is a must-see destination when visiting the area.

Other museums include the Nelson Mandela National Museum more affectionately referred to as “The Mandela House” in Vilakazi Street as well as the Regina Mundi Church, the largest Roman Catholic Church in South Africa, home to The Black Madonna painting.

From having started as an area to house the unsightly on a barren piece of land, in 2010 Soweto was proudly chosen to host the opening and closing ceremonies for the FIFA Soccer World Cup, both hosted at the FNB Stadium, the largest sporting stadium in the country.

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