Soweto, a place known the world over for its rich history, and home to one of the most celebrated people around the globe, Nelson Mandela.
Down the iconic street of Vilakazi in Orlando West, Soweto, the house that Mandela called home for fifteen years still stands majestic.
The heritage, legacy and history of Mandela and his family fills the rooms around the place.
It was in that house that Mandela fought for the freedom of South Africa from the shackles of apartheid, leading to his imprisonment, but still down the latter years, being elavated to being the much beloved leader of South Africa.
Although there is a Mandela Family Restaurant next to the Mandela home, it is the Sakhumzi Restraurant down the street from the historical home that draws crowds.
The tasty South African cuisine has become a hit with many. The owner Mr. Sakhumuzi Maquebela boasts of thousands of tourists in a year. The hotel is built right at the place where a thirteen-year old, Hector Peterson was shot dead in June 1976 during the fight against apartheid.
Off the street, a little further north still in Orlando west, a museum that marks the students’ upraising in South Africa during the apartheid period was named after the 13 year old Hector Peterson as a reminder of the struggles of people of Soweto. It was the story of this boy that awoke the world to the pain of apartheid in South Africa. The museum in pictures and words share the fight of young people against Apartheid.
During the anti-apartheid protest, the Regina Mundi Church became a haven for many, giving refuge to the activists especially the students protesting against apartheid in Orlando stadium and had to run for cover once the police started shooting at them. When Nelson Mandela, allocated November 30th as the ‘Regina Mundi’ day the bullets holes and cracks in the church ceilings and marble became a reminder of what ensued back then.
After understanding the dark history of apartheid, a blood pumping thrill can sum up a visit to the famous street of Soweto to the land mark giant tower coolers in the area. Orlando towers drew attention after the unused cooling towers were given a make over, and turned into a bungee jumping and zip lining attraction.