April 28 Photos


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In Johannesburg, we took a tour of Soweto.  We were surprised by the diversity of housing in Soweto from the minimal shacks to millionaire's homes.  The community is estimated to contain at least four million persons, over 150 schools and the largest hospital in the world.  In Soweto, in 1976, the final phase of resistance to apartheid began. 

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We visited the home where Nelson Mandela lived for a time with both his first and second wives and which is now a museum.  Winnie Mandela (his second wife) lived in the house under house arrest for twenty years while Mandela was in prison.  The house has many bullet holes from shots designed to harass Winnie Mandela during her time there. Today, it contains many artifacts and awards from Nelson Mandela's life (the bowl in the third photo was presented to Mandela by the U.S. Congress).  Throughout  Africa, the name of Nelson Mandela is treated with great respect.  While we were touring the museum, Winnie Mandela was visiting outside the home unbeknownst to us.  

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Later, we visited the Hector Pietersen Memorial, a site where police opened fire on hundreds of schoolchildren in 1976 killing Hector Pietersen and 58 others.  In a photo seen round the world, Pietersen is being carried away by a grief-stricken man while Hector's sister runs alongside in grief.  Hector's mother was at the site this day, selling curios at one of the shops.

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We next visited a shebeen, which were once illegal drinking houses, where blacks were not supposed to congregate, but frequently did.  This shebeen, Wandies, is what the tour operator called a five star shebeen, not typical of most. 

Our guide, a Soweto resident named Stephen, had previously asked if we wanted to visit a poor Soweto family, a middle class family or a millionaire's home as part of the tour.  Not sure which to pick, we chose the middle class home.  Later, as we drove along, the guide stopped at the home of complete strangers and talked the residents into giving us a tour.  The occupants were so fascinated by the digital camera used to take these pictures that they all asked that they be sent a copy of the photo from America.  It is common for many owners of homes such as this to rent out space in their yard for poorer families to build shacks.

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As we drove back to the hotel, we captured a view of Johannesburg from the tour bus.

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