Soweto Walking Tour a short walk to freedom

Soweto Walking Tour a short walk to freedom, our most popular visit is now two years old, we no longer frighten the visitor with 8 to 9 km walks, we now sell the 5 km must do visit on foot, which on a normal days visit, commencing in Soweto at 09:00, should be covered by 12:30, to 13:30 for lunch at the Nancefield Hostel, following which, we will catch a shared taxi to complete the day.

Soweto Walking Tour a short walk to freedom


Cedric has researched South Africa’s alternative history, and is one of the only white people in the world, that does not celebrate Nelson Mandela as his icon, the icon that has freed the African from oppression.

Cedric is of the opinion that Economic Segregation is the prime evil, and had it not been for him, as part of the English Coloniser, the African would be the wealth group of South Africa today, the Townships would not exist, and black poverty would not exist.

Therefore he is unable to sell the Mandela Icon history that the international visitor worships, he only sells the desire of the African poverty groups, to be respected as a human, to have white people walk their streets, bringing dignity to the African poverty groups, which will contribute to a move towards economic freedom.

South Africa’s Alternative History, our hidden history, starts in the 1950s. when children become self-politicised, until then, the struggle was in the hands of the academics, who were educated buy the oppressor, who worked for the oppressor, the self-politicised children, who start to fight for their dignity and freedom, fight for their land, disturbs the oppressor.

On of the 1950s children, John Mahapa, now 80 years-old, moves from boy-scout to freedom fighter,  and soon the entire Orlando High School is politicised, John is first sentenced to 3 years as a twenty year-old, and then to 7 years on Robben Island, when only twenty-three years old, those visitors who wish to visit with John, need to make advance booking, and will cost you R 50 per person, (groups of over ten negotiable),


However, the International Visitor has paid money to pay respects to the ACCEPTED HISTORY that freed the African, so, provided you have walked the Soweto Walking Tour a short walk to freedom,  which may not bring economic freedom to the African, but will restore the dignity, that the whites removed from the African, we do make provision for the visitor to experience the ACCEPTED  HISTORY, after lunch;

The Taste of Africa Soweto walking tour a short walk to freedom, covers four very distinct, but very different communities, Orlando East, Numzamo Park, Holimisa Settlement, and the Nancefield Hostel, these areas specifically selected as we bring dignity to a diverse group of people.

The lunch experience  at Nancefield Hostel, is one where Cedric believes gets you as close to Africa, as you can ever get to Africa, and even if we do not stop for lunch, a short stop and refreshment allows us to reflect on our experience, and give consideration to what we have contributed.

Lunch is not compulsory, and provided two days notice is given, vegetarian will be available.

Soweto Walking Tour Nancefield Hostel the closest your will get to Africa
Soweto Walking Tour Nancefield Hostel the closest your will get to Africa


For transfer purposes, our prices are quoted ex Melville, our home base:

2019 rate: 

R 650 per person,  ex Melville base.   (single supplement of R250)

Note:    Our 2019 price, ex-Melville remains valid for all bookings till November 30, 2019. 

We encourage our visitors, who have their own transport, to use the self-drive option, here the guide, on appointment, will meet you at a BP Service Station, 500m off the N1 Highway, and take you to Orlando East, where you will safely park your car, and proceed with the regular visit.

Soweto Walking Tour Self Transfer Option;

Self drive option, R 450 per person,  (single supplement of R 150).

BP Service Station, Taste of Africa’s meeting point, by arrangement only.

Should the visitor reside in Melville, or other areas accessible to the Rea Vaya bus route,  Taste of Africa will assist with directions.

For rates outside of this standard options. please enquire from Taste of Africa.

Excluded is Meals for you and your guide, approx R50 pp,  plus museum fees.

Cedric’s latest challenge:

For 15 years Cedric and Nettie have developed the unique visit to Soweto and other parts of South Africa,  our latest challenge is to give the visitor the opportunity to absorb the surroundings, decide on the direction that we should walk, ask the Cedric and the guides questions, ask the community questions, invite themselves onto a locals property, into their homes, and off this basis, the visitor will achieve their maximum experience, while community interaction is taken to a new level.

Cedric will discuss this option with the visitors, and develop a mutual structure for the visit.

Soweto Walking Tour a short walk to freedom

The 4 areas that are covered in the walk, are 4 very different development areas, are they four different levels of poverty, you decide.

Walk A:  2 km

We start our walk  in Orlando East, officially the oldest Township on Soweto, dating back to 1932, home to South Africa’s political history, both the Accepted History, and the Alternative History.

Walk A, Orlando East 2 km
Walk A, Orlando East 2 km

Walk B:  1 km

We exit Orlando East, the Orlando Towers to our left, we cross one of the typical open spaces, and then walk through Numzamo Park, the only housing development that has taken place on the 1980s informal settlement.

Walk B Numzamo Park
Walk B Numzamo Park
Link between Numzamo and Holimiso
Link between Numzamo and Holimiso

Walk C:  1 km

Holomisa Settlement, established in the mid 1980s, allows us to have an insight into life on the other side of the track.

Walk C Holomisa Settlement
Walk C Holomisa Settlement
800m link between Holomisa and Nancefield
800m link between Holomisa and Nancefield

Walk D:  300m

Nancefield Hostel

Walkthrough Nancefield Hostel
Walkthrough Nancefield Hostel


The Nancefield Hostel, one of eleven such hostels built in the 1950s, to accommodate migrant male workers in the Johannesburg area.

There was one female hostel, situated between Orlando West and Meadowlands.

Prior to 1994, 3 000 males were accommodated in this Hostel, that stretches on both sides of the road. Today, family groups are accommodated, and we believe the occupants total 13 000.

From 1988 to 1992, the hostels were used by the system, to destabilise the local community, Zulu’s of the IFP group, attacked non-Zulus in the area. This was all part of the black-on-black violence, which some would claim was backed by the National Party, and targeted the youth of the PAC and other Black Consciousness groups.

Today, many non-Zulu’s would still keep away from the hostels.

Very few Zulus in the Hostel area, are able to speak English, part of the Colonisers suppression. I believe the English, used Welsh speaking people, to learn the Zulu language, and off that basis, the employers language skills were developed. In Kwa-Zulu Natal, all Employers, White and Indian, speak a form of Zulu, restricting the rural Zulu from needing to speak English.

We approach the eating area, through the Hostel accommodation area, where we will pay our respects to the ‘Indunas’. the traditional leaders of a Zulu community, David, our young guide has lived in the Hostel for most of his life.

The hostel conditions are in terrible condition, the occupants wanting the family units upgraded, and the Government, has intention to upgrade, but the end product, particularly in relation to cost, is far from reaching consensus.

Now time for rest and relaxation, where the visitor and the guide can interact with one another and the Mutwa Butchery patrons:

Muthwa Butchery:

Muthwa runs a very successful business, feeding hundreds per day, behind the stoves you will find a selection of cooked meat, from head meat to the innards, heart, liver, kidney, and pieces that I have never been exposed to.

In the shop, they will have a beef stew, sometimes chicken, served with pap, (their traditional porridge) and you can but a tomato and onion relish on the side.

A recent introduction to the menu is grilled chicken, and Cedric believe that it is one of the best in the area, often taking chicken home for our evening meal.

We love to buy meat to braai, they sell various cuts to beef, including heart, liver, and sausage/wors, that you can braai yourself, Cedric however prefers to use the staff member tasked with assisting in the braaing, but be careful when using the staff member, you still need to ensure your meat in not overcooked.

Buy your meat with a small helping of pap, R 10, and tomato relish. Your meal seldom costs more than R 35 to  R55 per plate.

Beers are available to buy, and an enjoyable few hours can be yours.

Nancefield Hostel Cedric favourites lunch venue
Nancefield Hostel Cedric favourites lunch venue

Comfort Information:

This is Africa, and they cater for groups of people, eating from one communal plate, using your fingers. Should you have an issue, please ask the shop for a spoon.

Between the kitchen area, and the eating area, there is a sink, where you can wash your hands.

When you have cooked your meat, there will be a knife around, attached to an anchor of sorts, where you cut the meat into chunk size portions, Cedric would ask the braai assistant to please cut his meat, his hands are too soft to do so without a fork available.

The salt will be in a plastic bottle, also anchored, so pour a little into your hand, and set on a corner of the meat plate. When washing your hands, if you require a cloth, please ask one of the ladies working there.

This is your closest that you will get to Africa, while in South Africa.

Soweto Walking Tour Nancefield Hostel the closest your will get to Africa
Soweto Walking Tour Nancefield Hostel the closest your will get to Africa.


One of the most damaging pieces of legislation passed in South Africa was the 1913 Native Land Actthe greatest separation between the South African black and whites, or as Cedric will say today, the African and the non-African.

The Native Urban Areas Act, 1923 required Urban authorities to accommodate all black people that worked in their area, in Temporary accommodation. In 1928 the Johannesburg City Council established the Non European Affairs Department, (N.E.A.D.) and the Orlando East Township was their first project.

The small red brick houses that are seen in Orlando East are typical of the 3500 houses built between 1932 and 1934. It was only recently that I took notice of the different building materials used during this process. We have the red brick that is synonymous with the perception of the local whites when describing this development, yet closer scrutiny shows that they used the red brick, a slightly yellow/red brick, we also have two grades of cinder bricks and then the large cement block. The original houses consisted of two roomed houses, three roomed houses, and a number of them are semi-detached. When first built, the house only had one front door and the second doors were only added later. The enclosed porch that you see on that small ‘red brick’ house was first permitted in the 1950’s, subject to motivation and approval by the council.

As a South African, I could not believe, just how much development, had taken place in Soweto. My perception still had all houses in Soweto, as rows of these little red brick houses. I do not think that many white South Africans, would ever give credit to just how many of these houses have been developed. Not only developed, but developed on properties that they only rented, without having title deeds to these properties. They used their own money, and did not have access to loan finance, through the financial systems. I think they still find it difficult, to obtain financial assistance today. Where extensions take place, they build little by little, taking years to complete, living in the original house, and often the original house, remains fairly intact, in the inside of the completed house.

Us whites, were forever boasting, about what we achieved, during the years of ‘isolation’, the period when we had restricted sport contact, performing arts contact, and had to buy oil through the back-door, what an achievement. But look at the Sowetan community, just look at what they have achieved, while in isolation, and they are still in isolation.

Rathebe Street, off Mooki Street:

This setting is magic, the red-brick houses with shacks of various shapes and sizes, different materials, the odd bit of colour.

An Original Match-Box House with a typically neat garden.

Just walking up and down the streets of Orlando will give you an experience that you will never forget.

By now you would have discovered that the community do not mind you taking photos,often calling out ‘shoot me’ to encourage a photo, it is because you are walking the streets and become part of the community that they welcome your presence. I do not suggest that you request permission, but always greet and interact with the Africans, should you see that some-one is reluctant, wave an apology, and back-off.

Always be prepared to show the locals the photo that you have taken, if you have a digital camera. Not only do the enjoy seeing the photo, but the children love the close contact with our guests. They will touch you and feel you.

While we are on that subject, I do not encourage our guests giving to children, or for that matter, adult beggars. Rather buy some fruit; or other items from hawkers.

If you feel obliged to give to the children, or the many adult beer drinkers, who will be pressing you for a few rand, it only makes it more difficult, for the guests who follow to get close to the community. The beggars start to shield you from interaction with the magic.

As you walk past one of the properties in Orlando East, the small two roomed red brick house, is often surrounded by eight to thirteen tin shacks, with hardly a passage to move through. Do not be afraid to accept an invitation to stop and talk to one of the communities.

Thirteen, maybe fifteen families, on a piece of ground, 15m X 20m, the original two-roomed house, not changed in 70 years, accept for the porch that was enclosed in the 1950s, and accommodates a sub-tenant, and the thirteen shacks of various shapes and sizes, that are build around the perimeter fences of the property.

In the far left corner of the property, no grass here, just the very red soil, is the one outside toilet, with the only source of water, the one water tap feeding off the toilet system.

The occasions, when a few quarts of beer are being consumed, by young men, and sometimes the older woman, sitting in the early morning sun, maybe playing drafts, or just chatting; is a magic experience for the visitors.

Always a friendly welcome for all, interaction between the groups, smiles, and confusion, as they all jockey for the opportunity, to have a few words with the visitors.

What is not obvious to the visitor, during this brief excitement, is just how structured life on these properties is. With thirteen families, and possibly 40 people moving in and out the commune, the toilet hygiene, and use of the washing facility, washing lines, and such, all needs to be shared and strictly controlled. Add to this the fact that there are five different language groups / indigenous groups, living in this commune; this commune; is an example to the rest of the world, on how to live in harmony. 

The little children, moving around the property, seem to belong to the community, and it is difficult to distinguish, the mother child relationships.

Soweto Tour, our favourite hardware store
Soweto Tour, our favourite hardware store

When we first visited in Soweto, July 2004, we were  impressed with the cleanliness, of the streets and the properties. Most of the side-walks are swept and so neat, and many of these gardens are so nice. To this cleanliness we can add the attention, that they people give to their clothes and selves.

If I was a first-time visitor to Soweto, with no guide, to pull me around Soweto, as I entered Rathebe Street, off Mooki Street, I would just cool here for some time. Walk slowly, stop at the hardware store; sit down next to a local, just talk, and become part of the magic.

Cedric’s 2005 shebeen theatre is worth a read, it will give you an insight into Sofasonke and his people:

Soweto tour, visit with the respected leader, James Sofasonke Manzi's history.
Soweto tour, visit with the respected leader, James Sofasonke Mpanza’s history.
Soweto tour, typical Orlando East and many young children
Soweto tour, typical Orlando East and many young children

Covered in more detail in Passport to Soweto, is Nelson Mandela’s links to Orlando East, and the Mbube Mdingi post, is worth a read;

Follow Soweto’s history, from the early origins through to 1976.

This Orlando East Township can take a few hours, all magic.

Soweto Walking Tour, informal development.
Soweto Walking Tour, informal development.
Soweto Walking Tour a short walk to freedom
Soweto Walking Tour a short walk to freedom



Cedric does not include Apartheid Museum, as he does not support the concept that  ‘Apartheid is Dead’, and the Museum gives the impression that Apartheid is dead, so he would prefer you to spend more time in Soweto, however, if you wish to visit the Apartheid Museum, provided we are given advance notice, we will either speed up, or skip a small section, and the Guide will host you to the Apartheid Museum, using local shared taxi, (or Cedric if available will transfer) and the visitor will use a taxi  back home.

Cedric was born in 1947, lived through Apartheid, and if he is hosting the tour personally, you will hear more about segregation than you will ever learn from the visit to the Apartheid Museum, Cedric talks Economic Segregation, as the prime evil.



(Note, you can use local taxi to Orlando West, which will cut Dube out)

We leave our ‘Africa’ visit behind,  13:00, head for Orlando West, Hector Pietersen Museum, via Dube, 2,70 km.

We take a cross-country walk through a Community Vegetable Development garden, and depending on the season and weather conditions, the experience changes, always of interest.

Dube, the first ‘upmarket housing development’ where families with financial means, forcibly removed from Johannesburg, entered into a 99 year-lease agreement for a property, and subject to strict control clauses, were allowed to build their own homes.

Many of these homes, are typical of the suburban homes built during the 1950s and 1960s.

Soweto Walking Tour Dube the 1980s tourist route,
Soweto Walking Tour Dube the 1980s tourist route,

In the 1980s. Dube was the tourist area, where the tourism industry drove international visitors through the upmarket homes, to show off the achievements of the Sowetans.

Soweto Walking Tour Dube the 1980s tourist route,
Soweto Walking Tour Dube the 1980s tourist route,

At this stage, we have arrived a Hector Pietersen Museum, 13:45, and for those Visitors that wish to visit the Apartheid Museum, the time has come to decide on how much time to spend on the Tourist Route, Taste of Africa, using local taxi will move you to Apartheid Museum, and you will need to use Uber to return to your accommodation.

As we approach Orlando West, we cross a hillock, or if you prefer a small mountain, where virtually your days traverse can be viewed, and a view point where great photo’s can be taken.

Soweto Walking Tour Orlando Towers
Soweto Walking Tour Orlando Towers
Soweto Walking Tour, the settlement visited in the morning
Soweto Walking Tour, the settlement visited in the morning
Soweto Walking Tour
Soweto Walking Tour


Soweto tour, Hector Pieterson museum
Soweto tour, Hector Pieterson museum


Soweto tour, outside Mandela museum a few years back
Soweto tour, outside Mandela museum a few years back


Soweto Walking Tour a short walk to freedom continues;

Depending on your time available, Taste of Africa will collect you in Orlando West, but for greater impact on you, following your Dube and Orlando West experience,  we return to Orlando East, we use the local foot path where we cross the opens spaces at the Kliprivier, cross the Railway Bridge, and pass through the Station Market Place. 1 km.

The station market place in vibrant.

On this lap, we will pass shebeens and drinking spots, where you will be able to enjoy a beer, and many visitors will buy a beer  at the Station Bottle Store, and enjoy while walking through the market place.


Feel free to take my cell number, 082 565 2520, text me if you have any issue at any stage during the day:

Soweto and the people are my passion.




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SOWETO TOUR by Taste of Africa,
The No Zoo-Like Tour,  or rather a guided visit.

Soweto Tour by Taste of Africa, we offer a no zoo-like tour, we would rather have our guide disappoint you, through what you may believe is their lack of knowledge, regarding what you may have read on the internet, than restrict his, or her, expression, of how they see South Africa and our history, while allowing others in the community to interact with you.

This blog is aimed at giving the visitor an opportunity to understand the areas that we will cover during the visit, allowing less wasted time, by needing to listen to the information while experiencing the magic.

Soweto Tour
Soweto Tour

Following our successful introduction to the Soweto Walking Tour, from today, we only offer the one option, but rest assured, for those who still require the local taxi transport to assist, your guide will be very aware of your needs, and ensure you are comfortable.

Please follow this link to the Soweto Walking Tour:


Cedric and Nettie de la Harpe



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24 Hours in Soweto

Soweto 24 Hours in Soweto is a very big must 

24 hours in Soweto is a very big must,  it gives a  visitor to South Africa  the convenience, and magic of spending your first or last night in Soweto.

Our rate that includes Airport Transfer, Day Tour, Accommodation and meals, (T&C apply),

Our mothers celebrate the 180 beds in the month of August 2015.

 We have ten regular mothers hosting for us, on when necessary we can call on twenty families to participate.

NOTE 2019 PRICES  we have not escalated our price for three years, the economy, fuel and food prices, make it necessary that we do so for 2019.

The package we offer at R 1000 per person, (R 720 if you self-drive) includes collection in Johannesburg/Airport and the return to your collection point. R 250 single supplement.   The package for Groups of 10-15 pax, is R 900 per person.  Note: exclusion of lunch, museum fees, and local transport if used, as per the Soweto Tour portion.  

24 hours in Soweto,  gives groups of 10-15 pax, self-drive into Soweto, a group rate of R650 per person, tour leader, no charge: 

Should you use the self-drive option, the following google map links will help, ensure that you have made arrangements.

BP Service Station, Taste of Africa’s meeting point, by arrangement only

For 24 hours in Soweto, starting and end  time, adjusted to a  period that suits your travel.

 24 hours in Soweto, includes the Soweto Full-day visit as described on the relevant page.

 24 hours in Soweto allows evening sundowners
24 hours in Soweto allows evening sundowners

 24 hours in Soweto,  your HOME-STAY INTRODUCTION:

Your link to the Homestay Africa page:

Your most important part of the visit is the introduction.

In African Culture introductions include where you are from, who your parents are, your children and all other relevant aspects.

Often the lengthy introduction builds the relationship through common interests or family structures.

 24 hours in Soweto, mainly double beds
24 hours in Soweto, mainly double beds
24 hours in Soweto, a typical kitchen
24 hours in Soweto, a typical kitchen

Most important NOTICE:

Soweto generally has pretty good facilities, however, they will be shared by you and the family.

In the Villages the accommodation is more traditional.

You room may be in the house, or one of the outside rooms. The toilet / bathroom facility may be inside or outside.

Talk to the hosts about how you access them.

The rooms all have double beds, and the hostess is paid R 200 for the room for the night. If you do not wish to share the double bed, we will provide the room as a single, at an additional R 100. 

Washing / bathing in Soweto takes place may in the traditional bath, or, in other areas by using the plastic bath / dish.

See where the water comes from and whether you can assist in collecting the water.

We make every effort to accommodate you on a rotational basis, however, if you wish to ensure that you do get one of the more comfortable homes, please let us know, at and additional R 100 per person, which will go into a community kitty for all the mothers, we will allow you the choice for a ‘better’ room.

Where we are hosting groups, the group leader must distribute the group according to their understanding of the group, any special requirements, let us know in advance. Should you be in the position to provide us with the names of those who wish to share, 2 pax and 4 pax, we will allocate hostess in advance, reducing your settling time drastically.

Nettie and I have great fun when bathing in the Village
Nettie and I have great fun when bathing in the Village


24 hours in Soweto, MEALS:

Our arrangement is that the host cooks their normal planned meal and just adds to the pot to cater for you.

If you have any diet restrictions please tell the hostess.

The family often does not have the same daily clock that you have, so if hungry at night, do not be afraid to talk, and please make sure they know what time you want your breakfast, coffee or bath.

For groups we will arrange a meal at a local shebeen, or one of the mothers who can cater, with music and magic.

In order to give the visitor the magic vibe, the night includes the provision for the hostesses to join you for the meal.

Any refreshments that the hostesses may have access to, is not included.

Beer is freely available at community ‘shebeens’, and should the group wish Taste of Africa to source wine for the group, please order in advance.

Soweto 24 hours possible breakfast
Soweto 24 hours possible breakfast

 24 hours in Soweto includes – FULL-DAY GUIDING:

We will have a guide available on both days to ensure that you cover all the bases that we would like you to see and experience.

You may set the times that you wish to be out on the road or relaxing at home. The guide will keep you going non-stop if you allow.

When using the self-drive option, if you have a time restriction, an exception will be made, allowing you to use your vehicle to cover greater distance.

ENJOY YOUR 24 hours in Soweto STAY.

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Alexandra Township Tour


Alexandra  Tour, the  microcosm of South Africa, a must visit.

A look at Alexandra Township Tour

Alexandra Township informal shack development
Alexandra Township informal shack development

Alexandra  Tour Rates:

Departing Melville with Taste of Africa,  half-day visit, R 650 per person sharing.

Departing Sandton Central Business District using local shared taxi from Sandton, hosted by our guide:

4 hour visit, R 400 per person sharing, excluding the local transport, payable by the visitor.

 SUNRISE WALK & other tours:

Alexandra Township Tour
Alexandra Township Tour

Alexandra Township Tour – ‘SUNRISE WALK’  R 650 pp (min 2pax)

When we experienced the walk through Alexandra from 05:30 to 08:30, (winter 06:30 to 09:30), we experienced the Alex that we found the most attractive. Could it just be that it is cool, even the winter months can be hot during the day, or just that the magic of Alex waking up and rising around you is magic, you decide.

In the interests of Radical Economic Transformation in the tourism industry, these tours are intended to cater for the Sandton visitor, where our guides can host your access, through the local taxi transport in and out of Alexandra Township.

Any Half-Day Trip ex-Melville will only take place for the 05:30, 08:30 and 13:30 time slot.

Alexandra Township Tour

If departing Sandton, our guide will meet you at your hotel, if central in Sandton, or, at the Gautrain Station at 05:30, hosting you while using the local taxi from Sandton, our preferred option.

Should you wish to self-drive into Alex, we will provide directions to our guide controller on 2nd Avenue Alexandra, where you can safely park your vehicle.

Your guide will walk the area indicated in the map below compliments of Google.

Alexandra Township the area we cover.
Alexandra Township the area we cover.

From 1st Avenue, the taxi link and business area, we move through the small market places, moving through the Zulu enclave, and high density shack accommodation, where one of our guides lived, chased out by his neighbours in March 1991.

Taste of Africa visits the Madala Men’s Hostel, the heart of the 1991 conflict in Alexandra, considered a no-go area by most people.

From the male hostel and Zulu enclave, we walk via the upmarket Phase 2 with manicured gardens, an Island in the middle of the Chaos, pass the Female Hostel, walk through the high-density squatter community, the ‘Favela’ on 6th,

Alexandra Township Tour the vibe on the street
Alexandra Township Tour the vibe on the street

We pass the Room where Nelson Mandela stayed in the 1940s on 7th Avenue, then depending on time, a look at a few of the lower Avenues, before we head back to the business district and board that taxi back to Sandton:

Should the visitor wish to get deeper down into Alexandra, a trip in one of the small ‘cockroach’ taxi, will allow us to move deeper into Alexandra, and experience the cockroach.

No where in South Africa will you experience the diversity that you will experience in the 1 square kilometre of the old DARK CITY, that is Alexandra Township:

Join us for an experience you will never forget.


If we wish to extend the morning visit, and stay for lunch, once again, Cedric’s favourite lunch venue is the Alexandra Men’s Hostel, please discuss this option with Cedric.

Alexandra lunch another one of Cedric's favourite venues.
Alexandra lunch another one of Cedric’s favourite venues.


Alexandra, originally established as a white Township in the 1890’s then, when unable to sell land, the developer converted the Township to a black Township in 1912, sold all the land as the 1913 Land Act approached.

During the 1950s Alexandra was famous for the 2 American type gangs that controlled the area.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Alexandra, like Sophiatown, Kliptown and other areas in South Africa, was ripped apart by the expropriation of all residential land, and the forceful removal of residents to Diepkloof in Soweto, and other areas.

It was the Apartheid Government’s intention to use the land for Hostel Type dwellings, to provide accommodation for the labour force, and by 1963 the male and female hostels were built.

In contrast to the forced removals in Sophiatown, because Alex was due to remain a black area, the Council started to collect rentals on all accommodation that was not vacated.

This resulted in difficulty to remove the land-owners who preferred to stay, and great conflict existed through till the 1970s when Rev Buti was able to change the Council’s minds and the development of Alex was again started.

During the early 1980s, through some link by a financial institutions, contractors, and Councillors, property was re-sold to those who could afford bond homes. You paid a deposit, and an appointed contractor built the homes through a link to the building society.

Then, in 1984 conflict in the Townships, the 1986 the rent and services boycott, aimed at all the accommodation owned by the Council impacted on those Land-owners who maintained the control over their properties. To-date, no rent is being paid, and conflict exists in many ‘land-owner groups’ who claim ownership, in the face of Government Ownership.

This was followed by the removal of the restrictions on ‘influx-control’ and Alex was one of the first areas where informal shack accommodation swelled, resulting in the over-populated conditions we find today, high-density accommodation that the sewerage system can’t handle.

During 1990, when black on black violence, allegedly driven by outside forces, spread throughout the country, Alex, the ‘Dark City’ maintained relative peace. Then in March 1991 the IFP / ANC violence erupted in the area around the Mens Hostel.

Many died, and all non-Zulus were chased out of the area, many of them leaving all their belongings and fleeing.

This section today is still occupied by the Zulu contingent that occupied this enclave.

This is a brief introduction to the dynamics that we need to be aware of, and dynamics that should attract South African’s to visit the microcosm of South Africa’s scattered problems.

Cedric de la Harpe;

The You Tube in this post gives you a look at Nettie and Cedric de la Harpe’s background to Responsible Travel, and how it has impacted on our Alexandra Township initiative:

While you are looking at Alexandra, maybe Soweto is your other option?

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Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe

Hi, I am Cedric de la Harpe. and I invite you to visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe, where, our history and heritage is important, the people are important, but not the museums.

I was recently asked by a journalist, when responding to the advice that I would no longer take my International visitors to the museums;

“But what will the visitors see if you don’t take them to the museums?”

Having enjoyed the magic of our people for years, I did not answer his question, my answer would have disturbed him, join me in Soweto, is you wish my answer that I did not provide.

Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe
Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe

“I was born in South Africa, 1947, I never know whether to describe myself as the product of Apartheid, or, whether Apartheid is the product of me.”

“I can never remember being anti-apartheid, I just accepted that one day it would end.”

“My wife Nettie and I, first visited Soweto in July 2004, we loved the magic on the streets, we were surprised by the love and respect given to us.” 

“By 2008, I believed we were no longer racist, then, in 2013, I discovered that I still was racist.”

“in my opinion, ‘once a racist, always a racist’, like an alcoholic, you can only get into a state of recovery, your mind never heals.”

“I have escaped the need to worship Nelson Mandela as the icon that saved us, that brought freedom to the black people.”

“I  do accept that he contributed to the freedom to us whites”.

“Our white freedom, thanks to the Congress of the People, was symbolically cast into stone in Kliptown, June 1955.”   

“Should you wish to visit the Nelson Mandela and Hector Petersen Museum, please specify and book through the Soweto Tour.


Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe, who remembers the Mandela museum ten years back, and a glimpse of the old Vilakazi Street.
Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe, who remembers the Mandela museum ten years back, and a glimpse of the old Vilakazi Street.

Following this introduction, the visitors will ask challenging questions;

'How did you discover that you are racist, yet, you appear not to be racist?'

'Why were you never anti-apartheid?'

My answers will vary, depending on the general conversation that is taking place around the introduction.

Your are invited to join the discussion.

Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe
Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe

For years I have wasted the visitors available time, making sure that I covered ‘heritage sites’, and the history that the site heritage is based on.

The Visitors all have one great desire, to listen to a 
local Sowetan, on how the transition into their 'freedom' 
has changed their lives.

“Most people have read the ‘Long Walk to Freedom’, as I weigh up community memories that conflict with the Nelson Mandela’s version of their heritage, it has become like a treasure hunt, many people will contest my findings, and this makes our interaction even more interesting.”

Today, our very confused heritage information, can be read free on the pdf, linked in the Passport to Soweto.

Having booked a ‘Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe’, you will receive a ‘stamped’ free copy of the book, and be in the position to ask the questions, and give direction with regard to what you wish to visit.

Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe

Option 1:  

Cedric will host / guide you on the Soweto Walking Tour:

Should you wish to use the Rea Vaya bus system,  as described in the Passport to Soweto,  or self-transfer to the meeting point, Cedric will meet you at the bus station, at the cost of R 400 pp sharing, excluding internal transfers.

Option 1:  

In the company of Cedric, using his vehicle in lieu of local taxi fee, the cost (departing Melville)  per person sharing is R 750, this includes lunch at the Nancefield Hostel, but excludes any Museum visit:

Cedric will cover the following visit structure;

1:     Orlando East; the oldest official Township in Soweto; 1932 to 1935;

Should the visitor wish to interact with any of the Heritage Value sites, participating in the Passport to Soweto economic development initiative, please advise Cedric in advance, and the cost per site, per person is R 30.

The visitor will receive a more meaningful interaction with the Heritage Value participant family, if you are aware of their background, and have questions that you wish answered.

James Mpanza's History
James Mpanza’s History
Soweto Tour, our favourite hardware store

2:    Kliptown, our focus is the Mandela Square informal sector, the Mandela Hideout in the Lollan Home, and TamatieVlei, a community on the river,  we will briefly look at the Freedom Charter Memorial, only to challenge the ‘conspiracy theory’ regarding the ‘other’ version.

Mandela thanking Mrs Lollan for what she did for the struggle.
Mandela thanking Mrs Lollan for what she did for the struggle.
Soweto Tour the people
Soweto Tour

And then lunch and an early sundowner at the Nancefield Hostel, the closest that you would get to Africa, while in South Africa;

Nancefield Hostel, magic lunch venue
Nancefield Hostel, magic lunch venue


The Apartheid Museum is not provided for in this visit to Soweto with Cedric, who does not support the concept that the Apartheid Museum symbolises the death of Apartheid, as Apartheid is still live and well.


Cedric and Nettie de la Harpe


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