JOURNEYS & REFLECTIONS
South Africa Educational Study Program

Soweto
May 29, 2007                                                                              
 
We had a lovely first night at the farm house together and woke up to a great breakfast.  We headed back to Edendale Primary School where we were greeted by the happy, smiling faces of our students.  We spent a couple of hours in our classrooms working with our planned curriculum.  We then boarded the bus for a one-hour journey to Soweto.  Soweto means “South Western Township” and is one of the thirty-four townships in the region.   It is home to approximately 3.5 million Black South Africans.  There are nine different ethnic groups within this population, which makes it an extremely diverse environment.

We met with our guide, Nels, who has been working in Soweto for about thirty years.  She led us on an exciting adventure, which included the largest hospital in the world (Chris Harney Baragvanath Hospital), mine-worker hostels, Walter Sisulu Dedication Square, University of Johannesburg, Soweto and Kliptown (a squatter camp). We were given a personal tour through Kliptown by a local resident and we saw performance by Gum boot dancers.  The residents of Kliptown welcomed our presence and the children followed us during our tour.  It was an extremely moving and humbling experience to see families in such poverty, but with such optimism and joy.

Following our Kliptown experience, we journeyed to the Hector Peterson Memorial, built in remembrance of the student riots of 1976. The street was lined with vendors so we did a little shopping and moved on to see the Nelson Mandela Museum.  This was his home prior to his arrest and is filled with pictures and memorabilia celebrating his accomplishments.  Vilakazi Street, where his home is located, is famous as Desmond Tutu also has his home on this street, making it the only street in the world that houses two Nobel Peace Prize winners.  We ended our day at Wandie’s Place, a local Shebeen, where we dined on delicious South-African cuisine.  The dinner was fabulous and we left happy and full.   All in all, the day was pretty amazing and very memorable!   
 
 
Freedom Square


chicken


Freedom Square


tour guide


Freedom Square



Kliptown


Kliptown


Kliptown


Kliptown children


Kliptown mom and children


Kliptown Beautiful Child


Gum Boot Dancing


Kliptown


Kliptown