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