This week in ‘Through My Looking Glass’, we explore a little of Soweto, have a small history lesson and learn a few other things about the human race and the… well…. the humanity that surrounds that. I think I learnt a lot on Youth Day and it wasn’t just the route students marched in 1976.
All ready to go in the Taxi to SowetoThis was, yet another, wonderful day with the Joburg Photowalkers. This time we travelled by taxi to Soweto for a Youth Day walk. It seemed fitting as June 16, commemorates the day 35 years ago where students from numerous Sowetan schools began to protest in the streets of Soweto, in response to the introduction of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in local schools. 176 students were killed by South African Police. (Gosh, as I sit here tears well up.) The images from that day are nothing short of shocking and heartbreaking.
The Plan was to walk the route the students took, but with roads being blocked, we did the walk the other way round and started close to Orlando Stadium and walked to the Schools on Vilakazi street. We made the first stop at the Hector Pieterson Museum. Hector Pieterson was a 13 year old boy, one of the first to be killed during the uprising. There is an image of a boy carrying him to a clinic, it shows the real horror of the day back in 1976. I have been there once before and it is certainly worth a visit.
There was the most amazing vibe, the people in the streets festive and friendly and I have been told that is how it is there. I met some friendly people and as a White South African, I didn’t feel like I should have been transported around in an armoured vehicle. :-). In fact, I felt welcome and more safe that I feel walking to the shop 100m up my road. (The images above don’t seem to depict what I have just said, I am not entirely sure what that was all about to be honest.)
Last stop was lunch at Nambitha. It was quite possibly the most expensive burger I have ever eaten (well worth every cent though) and i am sure Jerome would disagree with the review given by Eat Out website – the service is quite far from “top notch” as the food took really long. But I am patient when it comes to eating out, so it didn’t bother me at all. The waiter was also really friendly, so I would go there again and try one of their traditional dishes.
I hope everyone had as good a day as I did. And I hope that next year everyone takes the time out to remember those that died in that struggle. Although it was a long time ago, I realized that it is a pretty significant day in history and it should not be forgotten. It is so easy for us to say; “you know, why live in the past, time to move on”, but this day I don’t think I will forget. This may be because I am English speaking and I would also prefer Kelso learn one of the other official languages instead of Afrikaans. It pleases me that he can say hello to me in Zulu.
To finish this off I would also like to clear up a few things:
- In all honesty, I found the public transportation system affordable and efficient.
- Soweto is not a scary place full of bad guys, it is quite the opposite. I am sure like all area’s, there are your bad eggs, I was fortunate enough not to encounter any.
- I “survived” a taxi trip to and from Soweto and made it home with everything I went with, minus the money I spent behaving like a tourist (I returned home with left over money, my atm card, license, Camera, 2 lenses, cell phone and car keys)
- I got back to Market Theatre parking lot and my car was still there, in one piece, all 4 wheels still there.
I think we live in an amazing country that still has a long way to go, but we are getting there. With some mutual respect, some understanding of where people come from and their history (this does go both ways – we weren’t all born with silver spoons in our mouths)
This is me, signing off. Wishing everyone a wonderful week end ahead filled with Love, good Juju and some smiles.
Ps – here is the link to what went down 35 years back: Soweto Uprising.