Soweto Travel Guide

  • Things to Do
    by Yumipyon
  • Soweto
    by hannette
  • Nelson Mandela's former house
    Nelson Mandela's former house
    by hannette

Soweto Highlights

  • Pro
    Jenniflower profile photo

    Jenniflower says…

     Great community feel generally 

  • Con
    wanderingtheglobe profile photo

    wanderingtheglobe says…

     none 

  • In a nutshell
    kenHuocj profile photo

    kenHuocj says…

     The neglected outskirt City south on Joburg that is polars APART from Sandton 

Soweto Things to Do

  • Soweto tour

    We had a wonderful day with a very friendly and informative guide, Pat from Soweto Tour. ( other tour company name is Themba tour ). I know maybe we could hire a car and just do our own trip, but since we are not sure if it's safe or not, and we had on only very limited time, we decided to join a tour. But end up with only 3 of us were in the van...

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  • The Mandela house

    This is the house where Nelson Mandela and his ex wife Winnie lived before and after his long imprisonment. Mandela has donated the house to the people as a museum, but his ex does not agree, thus the gate was closed with a chain and a padlock when we were there :-( In two different internet articles article from 2004, i learned that Nelson Mandela...

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  • Loads

    Theres more in Soweto than Jo'burg i reckonTheres Vilakazi street which has Nelson Mandellas house where he lived before going to jailTheres the Hector Peirterson memorial and trailAll with so much historyThere Kliptown with Sisulu square of dedicationAnd Kliptown itself is worth a walk around to see one of the poorest parts of SowetoOtherwise walk...

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  • Nelson Mandela House - Mandela Family...

    Nelson Mandelas home where he lived until his imprisonment in 1962 and also for a very short period in 1990 after being released from prison. The house is located on the corssing of Ngakane Street / Vilakazi Street in Orlando West, Soweto. The house is right in the middle of the place where the Soweto Uprising took place in 1976. The Hector...

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  • Hector Pieterson Museum

    Although the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg has a very touching and impressive exhibition, it was this museum in Soweto that had the biggest impact on me. The museum is also apout the dark era called Apartheid which dominated South Africa’s history in the 20th century. But the exhibition heavily focuses on the Soweto Uprising of 1976. Hector...

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  • Regina Mundi Church

    Why would you visit an ugly 1960s building when there’s Nelson Mandela’s house and the Hector Pieterson Museum nearby? That’s what you may ask yourself when you stand in front of the Catholic Regina Mundi Church (meaning “Queen of the World”). This church was a gathering place of local Anti-Apartheid activists, but is more known for the role it...

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  • Mandela Family Museum

    NOTE: With the popularity of Nelson Mandela in South Africa, there are quite a number of items named after him. Don't confuse this small home in Soweto with the big Nelson Mandela National Museum in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, South Africa.This small home contains many reminders and interesting photos and documents from the family history of Nelson...

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  • Mandela Family Museum

    As the world's most famous prisoner (held in captivity for 27 years) and, then becoming South Africa's president, Nelson Mandela exemplifies a moral integrity that shines far beyond South Africa. In the revolution led by Mandela to transform a country based on apartheid laws and dirision, into an open democracy, he alone has achieved a miracle....

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  • Hector Peterson Memorial

    June 16 1976, Soweto students rally against the use of Afrikaans as a language of instruction in scools and inferior bantu education in general. The rally ends in tragedy when children are killed by live bullets fired by police, the event reverberates around the world and is followed shorly thereafter by UN sanctions against South Africa.13 yr old...

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Soweto Restaurants

  • A Taste of Soweto: More Than Just The...

    I visited on November 20, 2006.There is a wide range of food at this facility, with a wide range of prices. Prices range from an omlette at 19 Rand to a Beef Espetada at 76 Rand. Outside the restaurant, there are both open air tables and a covered patio area. Smoking is allowed outside, so it isn't the place to be if it irritates you, though the...

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  • a must stop meal

    very much touristy,but it is a compulsary stop for most tour operators Mgudu & Putu ~ tripe stew and polenta

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  • The best meal in the world!

    During our Soweto sightseeing we made a lunch stop at Wandie's Place. Unfortunately I do not have any axact adress for this fabolous restaurant, but I would guess any local guide knows where it is.The restaurant was illegal during apartheid, but has afterwards become quite famous and popular amongst journalists and celebrities. We tried a little...

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Soweto Nightlife

  • littlebush's Profile Photo

    by littlebush Written Jul 9, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A new made friends took us around in their cars all over Soweto

    I dont know the names of most of them

    Some have licencing issues so you can buy at a bottle shop and take in

    We ended up in The Rock, one of the most famous bars, especially on a sunday, its in rockville suburb
    it was packed
    a beer was 18 rand but everyone again was just so so friendly and we were the only whites in there

    Thanks to Tebogo our friend!

    a great experience!

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Soweto Transportation

  • Taxi to Joburg and back!

    Thousands of people who live in Soweto have the commute into central Johannesburg every day. Many also go into the suburbs, for domestic work, or other work, getting there in a taxi jam-packed with people. I have ridden in them many times myself and some of the experiences have been hair raising, but most times I felt safeish, albeit a tad...

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  • Taxi to Soweto :)

    You will probably visit Soweto in a tour group, so will be on an air conditioned bus.Your other choice will be by car, and a good place to rent from is www.europcar.com. We use them often when on holiday here and they are inexpensive and professional.You will see taxi’s everywhere, they are colloquially referred to as ‘black taxis’. They are kind...

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  • be brave, try a ZOLA Taxi

    Most non Sowetan residentsunless involved with some commuity or businesswill be visitng with a tour group, liuckier ones will be visitng friends.i was fortunate to have driven myself in frequently rpior to 1976thereafter esoecially about the 90's did the same,on my last two trips, 'Chommie' Lucas was mytransportation;was fun to watch from the...

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Soweto Local Customs

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    by Jenniflower Written Jun 21, 2007

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    World renowned and yet not known by so many South Africans. Ignorant on their part? I would venture to say 'yes'.

    Many fear it and millions live in it.

    The bad history and riotist past has been sensationalised and the good people and community and ongoing development is underplayed.

    A place filled with culture, history, intrigue, sorrow, blood and tears, love and care.

    A fundamental part of the heritage of South Africa!

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Festivals

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Soweto Warnings and Dangers

  • Hair raising taxi rides? Not all!

    I had some hair raising experiences when I wondered where the driver had bought his licence, but I have had far more good experiences, they are friendly and drive fine, albeit too fast and stopping anywhere they like, which can often be very dangerous.My husband once saw a taxi driver driving a taxi using a crowbar, as it didn’t have a steering...

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  • Be alert when walking/driving in Soweto

    Some parts are not safe and it is a maze in many parts. Unfortunately, as unemployment is so high here, petty (and worse) crime are rampant in many parts of Soweto, and tourists are seen as easy prey.The majority of people living here, even though they might live in squalor and conditions well beneath that which we are used to, are good, honest...

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  • be street wise

    Soweto is no different to any other country where there is a wide gap betweenthe haves and have notswhether you're wanting to visit Sowetoor any other "Location" - residential / dormitary areas for the "Black" workersin nay major city;try to get a personal referal to somebodyin business, NGO community worker , friend or their familyis the sensible...

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Soweto Tourist Traps

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    san nhlengwetha  artnet.com 2 more images

    by kenHuocj Written Jun 17, 2006

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    Shebeens of Soweto, before 1995. 1976
    are as notable as those of Sophiatown,
    evem Kliptown had a few

    but the modern ones are good as ones
    linguistic skills

    what is a shebeen of the past
    a home converted or the patio covered
    with tough talking Mama
    serving castle beer, klipdrift brandy or gordons gin
    of course there is lion
    and oce Kronenbrau until yhry proved to be too hot
    a seller for SAB, who then bought out Louis Luyt's company
    'fishing' tales galore

    not only hooch flowed,
    but 78rpms. then 33 1/3 then casttes and finally cd.s
    were the source of music, jazz. soul. blues and now Kwaito

    from these hallowed social points,
    the many artist too emerged
    whilst many were influenced in early days of Polly St sudio
    under Cecil skotness
    >>
    that will be the linocuts
    and pencil drawings
    in the art
    i personally felt the real African feelings from deep down
    did not show up in the paintings

    being awau from the places whre it and is still happening
    i can now only use my recollections
    and what i saw and experienced with
    my limited use of words

    having spent Youth day, 30 years after
    to remember Hector Pieterson and other demonstrating Soweto studentas
    in the comfort of an African-Asian's apartment block functions room
    with other S Africna diaspora members
    of all hues of the rainbow
    nostalgia reigns

    and duty calls me as an early elderly to get the oral historis donto the 010101
    ww for all and posterity to see
    shall i succeed for my and other posterities' sake

    Unique Suggestions: get into a real non toursitc shebeen and eatery
    travel with a local resident, not a registred travel / tourst guide
    enjoy the mabience,
    at local rand prices
    not $s or Euros

    be brave and adventurous

    Related to:
    • Beer Tasting

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Soweto What to Pack

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    by kenHuocj Written Jun 17, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: forget the Louis Vuttons, be a pleb

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: dress down, be smart and not look like overwealthy,
    but still look elegant
    it's treading the fine line

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Condowms if you want the explore carnally and sexually
    UV cream, wet wipes,
    liquid refreshments. natural or laced with 14% or 40 proof

    Photo Equipment: digital cameraS, batteries, memory cards

    Miscellaneous: Tsotsitaal - Tsotsis or gangsters spoke tsotsitaal which was a mixture of Afrikaans and English, but also borrowed heavily from American slang. It eventually became the language of African working class culture and was spoken b most urban workers.

    Gangsterism

    Gang ~ rash

    Outfjit ~ Van watter outfijt is djy? (Which gang do you belong to?)

    Gangster ~outie


    Motsie ~ Ai, he's a kak motsie (Ag, he's a *** gangster)

    Police and the law

    Police ~ gatas / jaapies / sament-baadjies / ginger-cakes
    Prison ~ mang
    Hy's in di mang in (he's been arrested)
    vier Hy's in die vier in (He's in Johannesburg Fort Prison No. 4 awaiting trial)

    Shebeens

    Drink ~ koek
    Brandy ~ mahok Ek koek net mahok (I only drink brandy)
    Beers ~ bee-ahs
    Whisky ~ wieskie

    Drinkers
    koekers Hy's 'n kak koeker (He's a heavy drinker)

    Ordering drinks
    `normal ~ Tchee my bietjie koek daa! (Give me a drink!)

    a gangster with a lot of money
    ~Ek se, Sis Fats, fill the table and count the empties; dan sal ons betaal!

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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Soweto Off The Beaten Path

  • Artful Powerplant Cooling Towers

    Not so very long ago, Soweto was an area that the powerful people of South Africa pretty much ignored. It was a source of cheap labor and that was all.Thus, the location of a large coal fired power plant in the community, the smoke of which was terrible and caused many problems for those residing in the community.Today, this powerplant is now...

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  • from a two room shack to a palatial...

    they come in all sizes and shapes,many are identical,gracefully since the late 80s and early 90srenovations and additiosn are taking placesadly the dormitary Status of Status of Soweto lingers

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  • A South African Ghost Story

    This true story happened in Soweto.A man was hitchiking on a very dark night in the middle of a storm. The night was rolling by and there was hardly a car on the road. The storm was so strong that he could hardly see his feet in front of him. Suddenly a car came towards him and stopped. Without thinking, he got in and closed the door, only to...

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  • Nelson Mandela ~ who is he?

    He was born in the Transkei on 18 July, 1918. His first name, 'Rolihlahla' is interpreted as 'troublemaker'. The Nelson was added later, by a primary school teacher of his... Mandela's boyhood was peaceful until the death of his father landed him in the care of a powerful relative. He became involved in student protests against white colonial rule...

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  • Redevelopment

    There has been much redevelopment in Soweto. There are still squatter homes, which are basically corrugated tin dwellings. No windows. Roofs have heavy rocks to keep it on when the wind blows. There is electricity and fresh water now available to the community. Long overdue but there now thankfully.There is still much to do, millions of people...

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