Soweto to get a $100 million facelift

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Soweto, one of Africa’s largest township will soon undergo some major changes.

The plan is to turn the township into a leading economic hub.

While the township was home to some great names like the late Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, it is also known for being overpopulated and poor.

The government has set aside $100 million  for revamping historic Soweto township.

Soweto has a deep painful history. Under apartheid it was characterized by student uprisings, police brutality, murder, crime and poverty.

But since 1994, the township’s fortunes have changed.

Ruby Mathang a member of the Committee on Economic Development in Johannesburg says Over the last 20 years the City of Johannesburg has made huge investment in the area of Soweto.

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There’s been huge infrastructure projects in economic infrastructure, on the social infrastructure and that has changed Soweto in a huge way. We are still far from where we want to get to but the basics, the foundation is there.”

The government has invested millions into the region thus far. And there are more plans in the pipeline.

However the potential of this vastly populated area remains untapped.

Economic activity, mostly tourism contributes just 640 million dollars to the City of Johannesburg.

More than half of the 1.3 million people that live in Soweto are unemployed.

Despite unemployment at 53%, there are many who believe that Soweto is a growing market.  Famous businessman Richard Maponya saw the potential and built a luxury shopping mall in the heart of Soweto, a first for the township.

Young entrepreneurs opened Soweto Adventures, offering quad-biking and walking tours, also a first.

The famous Vilikazi Street where Mandela lived, has joined the ranks of Joburg’s top tourist spots.

The City of Joburg has plans to expand on this and eventually turn this region into an economic hub.

 

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