tagged johannesburg, South Africa, south western township and soweto
While we were in Johannesburg, we took a tour of the South Western Township (aka. Soweto). The Soweto township first developed during the gold rush around the late 1800’s, as a suburb outside of Johannesburg where Africans were forced to live. The number of people living in the township is unconfirmed–reports are anywhere from 1-3 million people or more. Turns out Nobel Peace Prize recipients Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu both lived on the same block in the “nicer” part of Soweto.
Today Soweto is more than just shanty houses, there is a growing entrepreneurial middle class and the neighborhood is full new cars, and brick houses complete with alarm systems. In addition, the government is slowly relocating residents into government housing projects. One woman we met is waiting her turn to move into the new housing, until then she’ll continue to live with 10 of her relatives in a one room shack.
Apparently the crime rate in Soweto is far below that of the rest of Johannesburg. Our tour guide said it was because the residents have their own form of justice…they find the culprit and set him on fire which seems to keep the crime rate low.