"A city within a city"
Soweto Johannesburg Tour
Soweto is an acronym for South Western Township
The history of Soweto goes back to the discovery of gold. Furthermore, soon after George Harrison has made his momentous discovery of gold bearing reefs at Langlaagte outside the present city of Johannesburg. Moreover, thousands of people of all races from all corners of the world, began to stream into newly established mining camp.
Although the mining industry was developing, the population of black temporary contract workers from South Africa’s rural areas grew rapidly. As a results, many black people were housed in mining compounds, others were finding employment as house keepers, shop workers. As well as street vendors in the emerging industrial sectors of Johannesburg’s economy. Some workers were housed by their employers and others were provided with hostel accommodation, but generally the workers were left to find their own accommodation close to their places of work.
Shanty towns proliferate as the city of Johannesburg grew. In 1905 Klipspruit (the oldest of a cluster of townships that created Soweto today) was established.
The honour of being the founder of Soweto belongs to James Mpanza who lived for many years at house number 957 in Orlando East. He spent his life fighting for the disadvantage. He came and form a party called Sofasonke party with the chief aim of fighting for the rights of Johannesburg’s squatters. James Mpanza urged the authorities to provide alternative accommodation for the poor and to stop the destruction of shanties and the ejection of the impoverished.
His fight with the government finally resulted in the government deciding that it was useless to evict squatters without providing alternative accommodation. Thus started the massive housing scheme, which finally became Soweto.
Soweto is essentially a ‘labour reservoir’ for the city of Johannesburg and the major towns on the reef such as Roodepoort, Maraisburg, Sandton, Randburg, Bedfordview and Germiston.
Today Soweto is known as a city within a city as it has developed rapidly.
Soweto boasts World class facilities like:
- Baragwanath Hospital. The biggest hospital in the Southern hemisphere.
- World social facilities like Vilakazi Street, Orlando Towers, B&B as well as shebeen venues that offer a relaxed restaurant atmosphere with good food, music and dancing facilities, nightclubs as well as historical museums like Mandela House and Hector Peterson Museum.
Today Soweto Johannesburg tour is a must see World attraction for local and international visitors. In 2003, visitor numbers to Soweto Johannesburg tour increased by 20%, making the total number of visitors over 200 000 for the year. Post 1994 democratic elections, Soweto has become a place of vibrancy and friendship. The Soweto tour gives you the insight about Soweto different faces and is the melting pot of the South African Urban culture.
For international tourists, your South African tour is not complete if you have not visited Soweto.