Month: July 2012

Soweto: City of contrasts

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 A city within a city, Johannesburg’s most well-known township, Soweto, has an estimated two million inhabitants, out of a total population of ten million. The two huge cooling towers of a former power station, now daubed with brightly-coloured murals and housing a ‘buy and braai’ restaurant, make for a highly visible marker of the sprawling settlement as you approach from the main road. Infamous for the student uprisings and killings of the 1970s, and for violence and politics ever since, it’s a place of surreal contrasts. We were shown around by the calm, patient Lawrence, a Soweto resident with a white sweatshirt and a whiter smile. Formerly a cashier at Standard Bank, he is now an extremely knowledgeable guide, clearly proud of his community and cautiously optimistic about its future. (more…)