An adventure to Soweto

LOCATION: Housesitting in Johannesburg, South Africa

WEATHER: Sunny, and cooler. High 68

Today’s fun event was an outing to Soweto. Soweto is a South African township (sometimes called slum, or poor neighborhood, or shantytown) that was built in the Apartheid years by the government to house black people away from whites. It became the main hotbed of anti-Apartheid resistance and fighting. When gold was first discovered here, blacks from all over Africa came in search of work. Many ended here. During Apartheid the government built plain, but sturdy, brick and mortar houses for the poor. Today, Soweto is a township of about 1.5 million people, 99.99% black. We saw a lot of neatly kept “regular” houses as well as some very nice upper-middleclass looking homes, plus a lot of cardboard and tin lean-tos. It is a vibrant community, known for its music, culture, and strong sense of community.

We took an Uber to Soweto’s main street. For you readers in Mission – it kind of reminded me of going to Progreso….One street is a tourist street with restaurants and vendors selling their wares. Tourist buses disgorge white tourists who visit the main attractions – The Mandela House and a museum built in honor of the first student killed in the anti-Apartheid uprising.

Nelson Mandela grew up here. Here is his house, now a museum

Some enterprising person named the restaurant across the street after him..

It is amazing that two South African heroes lived in Soweto just a block from each other – Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

Another newer well-known Soweto-born person is Trevor Noah, host of the Late Night Show in the USA,, and author of a very good book – “Born a Crime”. Check it out!

We strolled away from the tourist section and happened upon a beauty shop. In real need of a haircut, I asked if someone could give me a trim. The owner stepped out and said he would do it – for $6.

I”m sure they do mostly black people’s hair. The lady next to me was getting some kind of complicated straightening done; another lady was getting her long hair braided into an intricate do.

The beauty shop itself is a ship container

I was pleased with the outcome

We wanted some typical South African braii (BBQ). We were going to have this street braii, but it was just chicken and we wanted some meat, too. Street braii —

So we went to a braii restaurant and ordered their mixed grill.

This was supposed to be for one person, but we shared it and were stuffed. It came with pap – a traditional side dish here, similar to grits in the USA.

Of course, we had to pair our lunch with a Soweto lager.

Our waitress introduced herself as T.K. She kindly let us take her photo so I could send it to our daughter whose good friend is also named T.K.

Uber back home, through the sprawling township of Soweto. (Name came from SOuthWEsternTOwnship)

We took the dogs back to the dog park for their daily romp.

DINNER: Since we had meat at lunch, we opted for leftover vegetarian lasagne for dinner.

BOOK: I finished another! “American Spy” by Lauren Wilkinson. A book that someone had recommended about a black female FBI agent. 4 stars out of 5.

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