Johannesburg & Soweto

SA's Financial Hub meets SA's biggest township in this melting pot.

  • Johannesburg

Service Description

Johannesburg is an African city of note. Johannesburg is characterised by contradiction and an apparent seamless combination of irreconcilable differences. The largest city in South Africa, Johannesburg is also the wealthiest and, without doubt, the economic powerhouse of Africa. ohannesburg is a booming, happening city and the emphasis is on making money - whether in business or on the streets - and has been since its beginnings when the world’s richest gold fields were discovered in Johannesburg during the 1880s. Visit the Apartheid Museum to learn about the rise and fall of a racially prejudiced system that managed to straddle half a century. Exhibits were created by a team of curators, filmmakers, historians and designers, so expect to see more than your average museum behind-a-glass-exhibit – it’s powerful stuff. The Johannesburg inner city, abandoned by an exodus of big business that transferred to Sandton and, until recently, avoided by all except die-hard tourists, is undergoing a complete regeneration. The area close to City Hall and Newtown Cultural Precinct, which has completely transformed the Market Theatre and surrounds, now forms the heart of urban revival, and the Johannesburg inner city remains the largest employment centre in South Africa. But it’s the sprawl of the leafy northern suburbs - there are over six million trees in Johannesburg - that draws the visitor: buzzing, trendy suburbs like Parktown and Norwood, with their restaurant-lined avenues that cater for the dining and décor set; the high street of Greenside that so easily dons the mantle of hip chic; fashionable Melville (forget venturing a little further to Yeoville - Jozi’s Greenwich Village it might have been but not any longer), and the sprawling malls of Sandton, all combine to make the city a great place to be. South of Johannesburg is Soweto, a city developed as a township for black people under the apartheid system. Most of the struggle against apartheid was fought in and from Soweto. The name Soweto is an acronym, made up - in apartheid days - from the first letters of the words “south western township”. Soweto is inhabited by over two million people, with homes ranging from extravagant mansions to makeshift shacks. Soweto is a city of enterprise and cultural interaction. It is a popular tourist destination with sites such as Kliptown (where the Freedom Charter was drawn up), the home of former President Nelson Mandela, the Hector Petersen Memorial site.

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Contact Details

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Volunteer & Travel, Inkangala, Luthuli, South Africa