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Soweto: The Soul of South Africa
Soweto was established as a black township - urban residential area - outside Johannesburg in 1904. It started life as the small settlement known as Klipspruit but has since grown into one of the most vibrant and exciting communities in the whole of South Africa.

Soweto or, to give it its full name, South Western Townships, is well known as being the heart of South African black culture, and it is now home to over a million people. The township played an important role in the struggle against Apartheid by being the stage upon which the 1976 Anti-Afrikaans Student Uprisings played out and its sons include many South African political greats such as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

Soweto or, to give it its full name, South Western Townships, is well known as being the heart of South African black culture, and it is now home to over a million people. The township played an important role in the struggle against Apartheid by being the stage upon which the 1976 Anti-Afrikaans Student Uprisings played out and its sons include many South African political greats such as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

Soweto embodies all of the contrasts that make up South Africa and is a place where spotless middle class neighborhoods exist side by side with unkempt shack-filled informal settlements. It is the perfect district for a tourist to visit if they want to gain an understanding of the country's soul and anyone who goes there must make time to visit the both the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum, which is situated in Orlando Park only two blocks from where the boy was killed during the Uprisings, and the nearby Mandela House Museum.

The latter museum is run by the Soweto Heritage Trust and was designated a National Heritage Site in 1999. The tiny red-brick house, number 8115, can be found at the intersection of Ngakane and Vilakazi Streets in Orlando West and was where Mandela lived with his family from 1946 through 1962. It was also the house that he came home to after being released from prison in 1990 and was where he uttered his famous words, "I have come home at last."

There is a lot more to Soweto than museums and memorials, however, and those who would like to taste the suburb's pulsating nightlife should visit a shebeen - the popular informal pubs that have defied all attempts to close them - or one of the local restaurants that cater specifically to the tourist trade by offering traditional South African food and entertainment experiences. There are also many accommodation options in the area, including guest houses, Bed & Breakfasts, self-catering units and hotels.

Soweto may stand in the shadow of its more well known big brother, Johannesburg, but it is a captivating and enthralling city in its own right.

 
Accommodation nearby
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Guest House in Soweto
1199 Phase 3, Diepkloof Extension
Johannesburg
This upmarket guesthouse based in Diepkloof, Soweto will ensure a friendly homely atmosphere...
From / night
250 ZAR
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