Soweto (SOuthWEst TOwnship) is the heart of the black independence
activism movement in South Africa, home to Nobel Peace laureates Nelson
Mandela and Desmond Tutu who live on the same street, and numerous
uprisings fought until the end of Apartheid in 1990. Today, black
kids in Soweto can be seen playing cricket, a traditionally white man's
sport in South Africa. Here as in the shopping malls, black and
white live harmoniously today only in the youngest generation, who have
spent their entire lives as equals.
A portrait of Bishop Desmond Tutu graces the park wall opposite Lebo's
Backpacker Hostel in Soweto. White locals still wouldn't dare
enter Soweto, but Lebo's gives backpackers a pleasant option for seeing
Township life from the inside. Numerous B&Bs have opened up
as well to tourists.
The biiiig Nelson Mandela statue in Nelson Mandela Square, next to
Sandton City, one of the most prestigious upscale malls in Johannesburg.
The City hall square of the eclectic and dynamic port of Durban, the
third largest city of South Africa and arguably the most ethnically
Great Mosque in central Durban. Indian immigrants, both muslim
and hindu, were brought in by British empire authorities to run
businesses in South Africa and are still doing so many generations
later. Durban has a massive Indian population and is the best
place in the country to try a bunny chow, a local South African-Indian
specialty. Discriminated as well by whites under apartheid rule,
a young Indian lawyer named Mohandas Gandhi came to defend Indian
rights. His beating up in Pietermaritzburg train station by white
authorities for daring to enter a first class railway carriage marked a
turning point in his destiny. Gandhi stayed on for a decade as an
activist in South Africa before returning home with bigger ambitions.
Some lovely facades from the English stronghold of Grahamstown, a quiet
and safe city known for its large private university and prestigious
prep schools. Children of African heads of state are regularly
sent here for prep school education.
Hills around Franschoek, the heart of wine country in South
Africa. And very fine wine it is, with some excellent value reds.
The outdoor tasting terrace at Dieu Donne vineyards in Franschoek.
Robben island, once a maximum security prison offshore from Cape Town,
has now been converted into a museum and one of the most popular
tourist attractions in South Africa. Even blacks from other
countries in southern Africa want to visit here first. This is
the isolation cell in block B of prisoner 466/64, which everybody in
South Africa knows is Nelson Mandela.