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Monday, July 27, 2009


Continuing on with our big Africa trip, our next stop after safari was Johannesburg. I wish I'd done a little more research & had a better understanding of South Africa in general. This is by far the largest city in SA & there were many more flights choices to get to Jo-burg each day than to Cape Town. It's a typical large city & was the center of the apartheid battle. As you can see with all the soccer signs, they are VERY excited about the 2010 World Cup.

This was one of the first things we saw & I had to laugh because it's such a common sight in most American big cities. I'm glad we stopped here, but this was probably the least favorite part of our trip for both of us.

We had a great view from our hotel & I was very impressed with how well so many of the beautiful trees had been preserved around the city as it had grown.

We took a full-day city tour that included many of the distinct boroughs & former shanty towns that played such a prominent role in the battles against apartheid.

One area of town we drove through featured high-rise upon high-rise where thousands of people lived in close-quarters. It reminded me very much of the apartments of New York City.

It was quite an interesting town- many, many contrasts. When we drove through the "rich" part of town, we'd never seen so many high walled compounds, so many fences & barbed wire, or guard shacks at every single house. It was a sober reminder that there were still many class disparities in the city.

Also, around the city we saw huge piles of dirt. Apparently, at the height of the gold and gem rush, many people had been forced to work the mines just outside of town where they piled high the efforts of their digging.

We made our way over to Soweto- one of the larger townships & home to some of the worst violence during apartheid. Our guide assured us it was a fairly safe place to visit (during the day at least).

We saw lots of larger housing complexes that still lacked many of the basics- such as plumbing and electricity.

However, the government had been building some newer apartments to replace these older ones.

Most of the neighborhoods were what I'd consider typical lower-income types of places. It was neat to get out in the city and see some of this stuff first-hand.

We did see a few areas with some very poor looking shanty-towns, but it was not as common as I expected.

Try as I might use Google, I couldn't not figure out what the name of this monument, but I remember it commemorates one of the riots & killings on a college campus during apartheid.

In the Kliptown square, there was also a Flame of Freedom Monument dedicated to the Freedom Charter of the African National Congress. It's similar to our Declaration of Independence and the ideals that the country wants to strive to reach with their new government.

Each of the declarations is etched into a concrete piece of a round pie shaped slab that was about 15' feet across. There is supposed to be a flame of freedom burning in the center.

It's fascinating to see what the highest hopes and dreams were of these people for their country and to realize that people generally want the same thing all around the globe.

And I thought this was pretty iconic- one of their giant new football stadiums shadows over a small shantytown.

GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY: Found a tenant to rent out the duplex & hopefully it will be smooth sailing from here.

1 comment:

SouthAfrica said...

Love the photos - it takes a lot of creativity to bring Joburg to life. I run South Africa Travel Online and each week we showcase a blog entry to our readers. The good news is we've chosen your blog as this week's winner (the even better news is that you're in for the running for blog of the month/year).

We've linked to this entry from our travel newsletter.

Keep up the super photographing.