Our schedule is pretty busy and we really only have two days of free time, so we targeted Tuesday and Wednesday for sightseeing. What we didn’t know was today was going to be very cold and windy until we stepped out of our cottage. Fortunately, we grabbed our fleece, jackets, beanies, and gloves. We were hooked up with a man named George who drove us around all day to places we would most likely not go by ourselves. He is a former history teacher and first off George took us to a private school named St. Johns. His 16 yr old son attends the school and lives there. This was influenced by the Europeans (mainly England) and was very interesting to see. I will post some pictures; I did not think I would see this in South Africa. School is currently out due to the World Cup but there was some rugby and cricket practice going on at the school. Brandon thinks the school looks similar to Hogwarts. We next visited the old downtown of Johannesburg. Lots of old buildings that are becoming rundown since most of the businesses moved to a different part of town. George continually talked about the “old Johannesburg” and the “new Johannesburg”. Since apartheid ended there has been a major influx of foreigners into South Africa. Poor African’s who think they can find a better life in South Africa. Unfortunately, this has caused the city to become overwhelmed with foreigners who can’t find jobs according to George. This has caused a destabilization of downtown and therefore all the businesses have moved to the north and the suburbs of Jozi (nickname for Johannesburg). Our next stop was to go to the top of an old hotel (50 stories) named the Carlton and look out over the city. It was a great view but you can’t help but notice how the upkeep of the buildings are not being maintained. You got the sense that George was saddened by how things have changed in this respect. Next we went to the famous Soweto. Soweto stands for South Western Town Ship. This is where the government moved the black population when apartheid began. This is also where Nelson Mandela lived for some years and Bishop Desmond Tutu still lives. George drove us all around Soweto and I will post some pictures. While in Soweto we went to the Regina Mundi Catholic Church that was a big part of the revolution. While we were in the Church the choir was practicing for a big service tomorrow, the singing was beautiful. Tomorrow is a big day in South Africa, it is a holiday. June 16, 1976 was when the uprising of Soweto began and changed South Africa and apartheid in South Africa forever. After spending some time in the township, we visited the new mall in Soweto. It was pretty much like any American Mall. We walked around and ate some lunch at a burger joint in the mall named Steers! We drove by Bishop Tutu’s house and then went to see Nelson Mandela’s old house in Soweto. The house has been turned into a museum but it was still interesting to see. We drove up the hill a little ways to see where Hector Peterson was shot by police during a protest by school children. From the FIFA site:
Hector Peterson is said to be the first person to be shot during the famous 16 June 1976 student riots in Soweto, where state police used live ammunition against students who were protesting against the use of Afrikaans as a language of instruction. At the time of the incident, a picture of the 13-year-old Peterson was shown all over the world, prompting international outrage and condemnation.
Our tour guide stopped the car and we hopped out to take pictures, there were some men using weed eaters to cut the grass at a local school and we think a rock was thrown from the weed eater because George’s back window was broken. Now keep in mind that it is pretty cold here combined with the fact that your stuff will get stolen pretty quickly. We kept on with the tour and brought all our stuff with us at each stop. Since George wanted to see if he could get his window fixed today (tomorrow is a holiday) he dropped us off at the Apartheid Museum. Brandon and I made our way through the huge museum; I think you could spend a whole day there. The museum was done very well and reinforced a lot of things we had just seen. George picked us back up and took us by Nelson Mandela’s house today, a far cry from the Soweto house. If you want to check his house out, check out 10 12th Avenue Johannesburg, South Africa. His house is on the top left corner of 12th Avenue and 4th Street . After the long day, we were finally dropped back off at the cottage.
For dinner we went up the street again to a restaurant called Turn n Tender. Once again we had a fabulous dinner. Brandon had the ribs and I had a lamb shank the size of my head. We also had a few drinks and we are now back in the cottage and ready for bed. We have another busy day tomorrow. George is picking us up again to take us on a day of sightseeing at the Cradle Of Humankind. It should be interesting.