"Soweto - not what we expected" Top 5 Page for this destination Soweto by Rusket

Soweto Travel Guide: 45 reviews and 135 photos

Nobel street

But what did we expect? Not a city of 3 million people! In Soweto we found all kind of neighbourhoods, from "slum" to palaces, and all of what we saw was well organized. During apartheid black people were not allowed to own land, now they are, and people who have lived in a house for 30 years get it for free. Many a house originally built with one or two bedrooms, that were now taken over by their residents, were renewed and additional rooms built. Quite a few houses have pools and / or tennis courts. Winnie Mandela's new house is surrounded by a huge bricked wall, and armed guards were watching it.

This is Vilikazi Street, unofficially called the Nobel Street. The reason why is that two Nobel Peace Price winners used to live here: Nelson Mandela lived in the house behind the white fence on the corner, Desmond Tutu a bit further down the street.

For more info about Soweto, take a look at cybernation's home page and his Soweto page.

Not authorized settlement

Even the "illegal" settlements we saw seemed well organized. In this area with 7000 inhabitants there are 200 portable toilets and 15 water faucets, even a kindergarten. Garbage is regularely collected, but there is no electricity.

Appr. 5% of Soweto's inhabitants live in settlements like this. Most of them are unemployed people coming in from the countryside or the neighbouring countries hoping to find work. They grow vegetables wherever possible and keep their surroundings tidy. Local authorities run housing projects to move people out from these settlements, but many of them prefer staying here since it is closer to Johannesburg and possibilities for getting a job.

Wandie's Place

We made a lunch break at Wandie's Place, a restaurant that was illegal during apartheid. The food was gorgeous! Probably the best food we had during our 8 1/2 months journey around the world!

The "wallpaper" consists of business cards, handwritten notes and postcards from thankful guests from all over the world.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:A well organized city
  • Last visit to Soweto: Feb 2002
  • Intro Updated Feb 18, 2007
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Reviews (4)

Comments (6)

  • fabrice's Profile Photo
    Dec 27, 2008 at 3:35 AM

    soweto must be very very very different from norway , I am travelling to oslo next week

  • grets's Profile Photo
    Aug 10, 2007 at 3:42 AM

    Soweto was also much bigger than we expected. Great page Marit. :-)

  • nixca316's Profile Photo
    Jan 28, 2007 at 6:52 PM

    Nice tip (re: The Mandela house)

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Feb 26, 2006 at 12:13 AM

    very nice page marit. i would love to visit that famous place that we have all heard so much about and see what it's like in real life.

  • Saagar's Profile Photo
    Aug 23, 2005 at 6:07 AM

    Overraskende restaurant? Wandie's høres interrresant og godt ut. neste gang i Joburg drar jeg innom!

  • Maximilian21's Profile Photo
    Jun 5, 2005 at 5:11 PM

    Nice tips. Hope to visit Soweto one day. Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika

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