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:
Here we first stand a listen to a brief introduction to the Alexandra History;
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY:
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;
Our favourite time in Alexandra, is just as the sun is rising, lex comes alive, the hawkers start setting up.
We proceed past the female hostel, and vist the Favela on 6th, home to one of our guides and the Favela overnight accommodation.
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.
Then we visit the Mens hostel, and have lunch with Mugabe, the easting house Chef;
Then lunch over we head for Jabu’s place and an Alexandra Goodbye;
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:
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;
We then visit the 90 year-old Gogo;
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;
Day 2, follow our Intercultural Exchange