Franklin University Group Tour of South Africa
Day 1: Soweto cultural tour
Arrival in Johannesburg, South Africa was early on 11 March, but we were ready. Today the group will go on a Soweto cultural tour. We picked them and boarded our overlander truck and headed straight to Soweto (South Western Townships). Soweto is a massive township and a city within a city. Soweto has a rich history and was created in the 1930’s when the white government started relocating black people into settlements away from white areas. Areas were separated by so-called sanitary corridors such rivers, highways and railway tracks. This was accomplished through the infamous Urban Areas act of 1923.
Soweto grew to become the biggest black city in South Africa. There were serious riots during the Apartheid years and these riots flared up from time to time until the first multi-racial elections in 1994. Today Soweto is vibrant hub of activities. Here you will find a curious mixture or formal housing, informal settlements and shanty towns. Soweto has a unique rhythm that attracts tourists from all parts of the world. Soweto is also well-known for attractions such as Mandela House, Vilakazi Street, Hector Pieterson Memorial, the World Cup Football stadium, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and popular hotspots in form of shebeens. Many visitors also take the opportunity to visit the Apartheid Museum, which is a chilling reminder of the mechanisms and dynamics of Apartheid System that was implemented in 1948 and abolished during the early 1990’s.
Traditional Barbecue (braai)
After their cultural tour of Soweto, the group headed to a Lodge near OR Tambo Airport. OR Tambo is the main International airport in Johannesburg (and the largest in Africa) and serves as a hub and gateway to Johannesburg and attractions such as game reserves. In the evening the group was treated to a traditional South African barbecue, known as a braai. Meat is prepared over hot coals and served with complementary side dishes. The braai went down very well and after some social time our guests retired for the night.