Intercultural Exchange with Big 5 flavour Susquehanna University day 1

Intercultural Exchange with Big 5 flavour Susquehanna University day 1

Our first night of the Intercultural Exchange with Big 5 flavour, Susquehanna University day 1, was scheduled to sleep with families in Alexandra. We achieved this with our first intercultural exchange visit, with the entire group sleeping at Valentine’s place on 4th Avenue, Alexandra.

With Valentine’s mother ill, their power disconnected, we were forced to make a late change, and wishing to remain in the old section of Alexandra, with a larger group, we needed to use four different families, these families needed to be close together for group leader contribution, and as one family needed to withdraw at the last moment, we decided to sleep in Soweto, and share the day in the two Townships.

 Intercultural Exchange in Alexandra:

Our regular point of start:

Alexandra Township, o;d VICTORY catering truck on 2nd Avenue
Alexandra Township, o;d VICTORY catering truck on 2nd Avenue

Here we first stand a listen to a brief introduction to the Alexandra History;

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY:

Caution

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

Worse was the expropriation of all residential land, and the forceful removal of residents to Diepkloof in Soweto, and other areas in the late 1950’s.

It was th Apartheid Governments 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 1970’s when Rev Buti was able to change the Council’s minds and the development of Alex was again started.

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

Then, in 1986 the rent 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:

We then walk along 1st Avenue Alex, and though the CBD, 1st Avenue, the taxi link and business area;

Alexandra traders in the CBD, Susquehanna 2016,
Alexandra traders in the CBD, Susquehanna 2016,

Our favourite time in Alexandra, is just as the sun is rising, lex comes alive, the hawkers start setting up.

Alex Hawker with the hundreds of other hawkers, setting up their stall
Alex Hawker with the hundreds of other hawkers, setting up their stall

We proceed past the female hostel,  and vist the Favela on 6th, home to one of our guides and the Favela overnight accommodation. 

Do not dump signs, with no provision for waste disposal
Do not dump signs, with no provision for waste disposal
Intercultural Exchange, allows the 2014 students a walk through the informal sector, and the odd interaction as we progress
Intercultural Exchange, allows the 2014 students a walk through the informal sector, and the odd interaction as we progress
Intercultural Exchange, allows the 2014 students a walk through the informal sector, and the odd interaction as we progress
Intercultural Exchange, allows the 2014 students a walk through the informal sector, and the odd interaction as we progress
A look down one of the many narrow alleys.
A look down one of the many narrow alleys.
A glimpse at the 2016 student group, as they give the informal camp, a last look as Cedric describes his 'fire experience'
A glimpse at the 2016 student group, as they give the informal camp, a last look as Cedric describes his ‘fire experience’

We pass the Room where Nelson Mandela stayed in the 1940’s on 7th Avenue, then depending on time, a look at the Avenues before we walk via the upmarket Phase 2 with manicured gardens, an area typical of the suburbs, and one of the few space that Cedric has not photographed yet.

 We move through the Zulu enclave, where one of our guides lived, and another, chased out by his neighbours in March 1991. 

The Zulu enclave, where the Zulu is King
The Zulu enclave, where the Zulu is King
The Zulu enclave, where the Zulu is King, and look after their woman and children
The Zulu enclave, where the Zulu is King, and look after their woman and children

Then we visit the Mens hostel, and have lunch with Mugabe, the easting house Chef;

Here the group inspect the cooking facilities;
Here the group inspect the cooking facilities;
Here the group inspect the refrigeration system
Here the group inspect the refrigeration system
A wave from the neighbours, deep in the squatter camp, inviting us to join them for a beer.
A wave from the neighbours, deep in the squatter camp, inviting us to join them for a beer.
Hostel eating house, reparation of the lunch time meal
Hostel eating house, reparation of the lunch time meal
While we wait for Mugabe, we tuck into the best Kota's in town, from a shop on 2nd
While we wait for Mugabe, we tuck into the best Kota’s in town, from a shop on 2nd
Once Mugabe has prepared the meal, our guests are served African style
Once Mugabe has prepared the meal, our guests are served African style, pic courtesy 2014 group
Alexandra Mens Hostel, easting house, African style, pic courtesy 2014 group
Alexandra Mens Hostel, easting house, African style, pic courtesy 2014 group
Then lunch over we head for Jabu’s place and an Alexandra Goodbye;
Jabu's Place
Jabu’s Place

What did the 2016 group miss in Alexandra?

The 2014 group divided into four groups, visited various activities, but fear not, the 2016 group did not miss too much;

However, the evening in the shebeen, on 4th Avenue, may have been more exciting that Stanley’s Place in Diepkloof Zone 5. Soweto: 

Alexandra drinking spot on 4th 2014
Alexandra drinking spot on 4th 2014
Alexandra drinking spot on 4th 2014
Alexandra drinking spot on 4th 2014

Thanks for joining us, as we experienced Cultural Exchange in Alexandra Township;

Intercultural Exchange with Big 5 flavour, takes us to Soweto.

Stanley, our guide, takes you on a walk, talking about the Old Soweto’s hero, and leader, James Sofasonke Manzi’s history;

Sofasonke, owner of race horses, and regularly enters the offices of the Council mounted on Brown Sugar
Sofasonke, owner of race horses, and regularly enters the offices of the Council mounted on Brown Sugar
Soweto tour, typical Orlando East and many young children
Soweto tour, typical Orlando East and many young children

We then visit the 90 year-old Gogo; 

The entrance to gogo's back yard, where she stored in 1981 BMW in pretty good condition
The entrance to gogo’s back yard, where she stored in 1981 BMW in pretty good condition
Meet the Gogo from Keatsdrift, living in Orlando East
Meet the Gogo from Keatsdrift, living in Orlando East
The daughter is first to reach the guide and we patiently wait for Gogo to say good-bye.
The daughter is first to reach the guide and we patiently wait for Gogo to say good-bye.
The 90 year old Gogo, and Stanley the guide, poses for the camera.
The 90 year old Gogo, and Stanley the guide, poses for the camera.

The visitors then spend the night in homestay, with our Soweto Mothers, as Cedric does not take photo’s he invites the Susquehanna 2016 group, to visit the 24 Hours in Soweto link:

Alexandra, Soweto and the people, were loved by the group;

Cedric;

Day 2, follow our Intercultural Exchange