Soweto is a township in Johannesburg, South Africa that borders the city's mining belt to the south. Its name is an English syllabic abbreviation or South Western Townships and currently home to 1.2 million people.
Its history is fascinating dating back to 1887 when 100,000 people flocked to this part of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republic in search of Golden riches.
Police opened fire on 10,000 students. The rioting continued and 23 people died on that day. The first casualty was the minor Hector Pieterson, giving rise to this heart wrenching and now famous photo which came to symbolize the struggle for Freedom.
Hector Pieterson being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo. His sister, Antoinette Sithole, runs beside them.
The impact of the Soweto protests reverberated through the country and across the world. In their aftermath, economic and cultural sanctions were introduced from abroad. Political activists left the country to train for guerrilla resistance. Soweto and other townships became the stage for violent state repression … ultimately ushering in President Nelson Mandela and a ‘peaceful’ transition to power in 1994.
I recently returned from a trip back to my homeland with 2 of my daughters...
We did a guided tour of Soweto
A place I had personally visited once before on February 12 1990. the day after Nelson Mandela was released from prison ... and what an amazing Ruach ('sprit) that day had ... bur alas a story for another time.
Our tour took us through the "informal settlement" or shanty town of Kliptown where 45,000 people shared 50 running water taps and electricity was "borrowed" from the neighbouring market thru piecemeal electrical patchwork!