"Don't take the tour bus!!" Top 5 Page for this destination Soweto by sebblit7

Soweto Travel Guide: 45 reviews and 135 photos

Make it a little more personal

Seeing the huge tourist busses outside Soweto's main attractions always makes me cringe. Besides there's so much more to Soweto than what the tourist busses show.

I frequently travel into Soweto either in my own car or using the services of two local drivers, who live there, Jay and Oupa. Jay owns a fleet of 11 minibus taxi's which are used to take kids to school as well as to conduct tours anywhere in, around or out of Joburg. His vehicles are kept in perfect condition and you can arrange for him to take you or your group pretty much anywhere in the country. Oupa has a minibus and makes an excellent tour guide as he's very knowledgeable about SA history, he also loves his Jazz and has travelled to the States and Canada to satisfy his passion.

Oupa Cel: ++2782 852 2365
Jay Cel: +2783 485 2141

1st stop Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital - Bara. Unfortunately our government spends more money on important things like new planes for the airforce and new ships for the navy so famous hospitals like CH Bara have to resort to novel ways of generating income. Hence the MTN Cell Phone company advert which covers the entire admin building. If you'll excuse the pun it really is a sick site to see, A ten storey building draped in Yellow cloth printed with the MTN logo. Tours of the hospital can be arranged but usually for people who donate money, the famous, or other special interest groups.

Doctors from all over the world come to work in the busy trauma unit here so they can gain valuable experience working in hectic, stressful conditions as they attend to gun shot, knife wound and MVA cases.

To contact the head of the Public Relations Dept. at CH Bara, call Hester Van den Heever on +2711 933 9111.

AIDS

Outside the hospital is Bara taxi rank. You can get some nice photo's from the bridge spanning the road between the rank and CH Bara. Look out for the guys chopping up cows and cooking them. There's also a guy selling traditional medicine, he's an Inyanga, not a Sangoma. Discuss the finer points with him.

Across from the rank is a pretty cool hair salon, where the guys are always keen for a long chat, they're a funny bunch and you can learn a lot about life in Soweto from them.

Head down Old Potch Road, on your left will be 'University of Johannesburg" Formerly Vista University, but now amalgamated with WITS and RAU. On your right you'll see a no longer used electricity generating station that used to supply power to Johannesburg city (not the residents of Soweto) The cooling towers have been nicely painted with advertising. A lovely touch. Oh and look out for the De Beers diamond billboard on the right hand side, it's there for you, not the residents of Soweto. You'll eventually get down to Regina Mundi church where the tour guide will try to make it seem like they suffered a Rwandan genocide. The Black Virgin Mary artwork at the front of the church is really cool.

Off to Oppenheimer tower for good views across Soweto - Located inside a lovely garden where you can get married. Right next to the garden is Soweto Home Based Care, they are funded by a Canadian group but always struggle for funds. Based in a converted shipping container, this group pays house visits on chronically ill very poor people who are bedridden and cannot look after themselves (HIV+ or stroke victims, etc.) They are often a drain on their families, many of whom are unemployed. They are discharged from hospital when their chances for survival are slim. They are the collective, silent face of the AIDS pandemic in SA. Why not donate a 25kg sack of Maize or some fresh vegetables? Call Mabel on Cell +2772 126 4398 or Tel +2711 932 2299 or email: shbc@telkomsa.net or Tsidi on +2783 982 0914.

Head to Avalon cemetery to see the graves of famous apartheid activists, but more importantly to see the number of graves that represent the untimely death of thousands of 20 to 30 year olds. How are those activists feeling now as hundreds of thousands of young South Africans are laid to rest because of a pandemic caused for the most part by the leadership of the very party they fought and died for? Go on a weekend to see burials taking place. Littered on the ground you'll find pamphlets advertising funeral services, the price of R2000 is a lie, the minimum cost is about R4000. Funerals are big business in SA, as is the micro lending industry as families borrow money at high interest rates to pay for funerals to bury their sons and daughters.

  • Last visit to Soweto: Oct 2005
  • Intro Updated Nov 15, 2006
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sebblit7 Visits Here Frequently!

sebblit7

“You can go by camel in a bureau drawer. You can go by Bumble-Boat or jet. I don't care how you go, just GET!" Dr.Seuss”

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