My journal. Africa Trip, March 9 – April 6, 2016

Africa Trip, March 2016 Tour of Soweto Tour of Soweta 2

Because of the garbage-worker strike, the garbage situation was indeed terrible. We were told that the rat population was now substantial. In the picture below we see behind the garbage, a housing development. (We have moved out of the earlier section, one of the poorest.) My best guess is that it is lived in.

I wonder about that because this housing development was not lived in:

Lungia was especially disturbed by this disuse. He said that the development had been built by the government for the township, but that when they opened it to residency, they wanted too much money for the apartments and no one or not enough people would rent. The people wanted a lower rent and the government would not do that because it would cost them, the government, too much. As a result of this stalemate, these many apartment buildings stand empty, protected against occupancy by guards, and no one benefits.

Except the neighborhood kids who get a ride from Phili while Lungia talks to us.

We go on to a better neighborhood where the roads are paved:

Just to the right of this picture, this was going on:

The tall gentleman in the white shirt owns the truck Margaret is leaning on, whose front end appears in the picture before this. He had backed his truck up towards the tuck tuck and dislodged by about a centimeter the headlamp in the middle of the tuck-tuck front end. With the trailer hitch on the truck. He was Indian and either lived in the home we see in yellow there or was visiting someone there.

We go on to a better part of Soweta to visit Nelson Mandela’s home and see Desmond Tutu’s house as well. (But he prefers to stay in Cape Town, we were told.) Along the way we saw this day care center. The guides told us they were a good thing, offering three meals a day to the children, but expensive for most township people:

More interesting for us (not having time to visit the Mandela memorial and house) was the memorial to Hector Peterson close by:

The plaque reads, “In memory of HECTOR PETERSON and all other young heroes and heroines of our struggle who laid down their lives for freedom, peace and democracy.” Our guide told us Hector’s story with considerable intensity and feeling. I found it quite moving and, of course, had known nothing of it or its importance to the eventual success of the anti-apartheid movement. Here is the story told by a tour company in SA. This photograph

of Hector Peterson being carried by fellow student Mbuyisa Makhubo while Hector’s sister Antoinette Sithole runs at his side became a powerful symbol and rallying icon for the resistance that the black people of Africa mounted in the days following the June 16, 1976 uprising. It was taken by Sam Nzima of The World, a Johannesburg paper, and reminds me of that equally iconic photograph of 9-year-old Phan Thi Kim Phuc running naked and burning in napalm down a road in Vietnam on June 8, 1972.

The photo has an important place in the memorial. People pose in front of it:

As we were returning to our HostelWorld starting place, Lungili pointed out a local shaman coming around a corner with a pack of followers in tow. He said she had just completed initiation and was tasked, as a final test, with finding a hidden object.

Shaman in Soweto.JPG

Called a sangoma by both Lungili and Vaida. There is a well-known Zulu shaman, Lungili went on to say, who by a painting had predicted the 9-11 attacks. That would be Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa (SA History On Line). In that linked page we read this:

Mutwa was revered for his predictions of world events, including the destruction of New York’s World Trade Centre in 2001, the 1976 June 16 uprising, HIV, Chris Hani’s assassination, load shedding and the ousting of President Thabo Mbeki.

It appears that these townships, Soweto is just the best-known, are just the way most Africans live in SA. We did see and hear of these others rather frequently. I’ll make another page on that.

Next Page.