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
THE ALTERNATIVE HISTORY:
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.
RATES: TRANSFER AND GUIDING, EXCLUDING LUNCH, LOCAL TRANSPORT, AND MUSEUMS:
For transfer purposes, our prices are quoted ex Melville, our home base:
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 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 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 D: 300m
NANCEFIELD HOSTEL, 1950S TO PRESENT, –
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 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.
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.
One of the most damaging pieces of legislation passed in South Africa was the 1913 Native Land Act, the 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.
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.
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:
Follow Soweto’s history, from the early origins through to 1976.
This Orlando East Township can take a few hours, all magic.
Apartheid Museum, NOTE THIS MUSEUM IS NOT IN SOWETO
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.
AFTER THE LUNCH INTERVAL:
(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.
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.
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.
ORLANDO WEST, VILIKAZI STREET MANDELA MUSEUM
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.