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SSoweto is a vibrant tourist hub that offers unique sightseeing options in one of South Africa's oldest townships. William Carr, chair of non-European affairs, initiated the naming of Soweto in 1959. He called for a competition to give a collective name to townships dotted around the South-west of Johannesburg. People responded to this competition with great enthusiasm. The City Council settled for the acronym SOWETO (South West Townships).
Soweto is a city of enterprise and cultural interaction. It is a popular tourist destination with sites such as Kliptown (where the Freedom Charter was drawn up), the home of former President Nelson Mandela, the Hector Petersen Memorial site, restaurants and shopping malls. It boasts one of the largest hospitals on the continent. Here are 7 spots you need to visit:
LoCrate Market, corner of Moema and Kudu street, Orlando West
A place where young and aspiring entrepreneurs, creators and innovators exhibit and sell their wares. This is a great place to shop, and they also offer Heritage Site tours.
The Ubuntu Kraal Brewery, 11846 Senokoanyana Street
Home to some of the tastiest beer on the block, this brewery boasts the first regional township-branded clear craft beer in the country, Soweto Gold Superior Lager, as well as a Gogo’s Ginger, Soweto Stout and even an Apple Ale. They also offer tastings.
SSoweto Theatre, corner of Bolani Link and Bolani Road, Jabulani
Referred to by some as the cultural heartbeat of the kasi, it offers more than just a regular theatre experience, with several performance spaces, a park area and public artworks on display.
7 Places you need to visit in Soweto
7707 Panyaza, 1736 Tumahole Street
In 2009, Panyaza and Club 707 joined forces to create a venue that is considered by young people as the place to be. It has a pub, great shisa nyama and a night club, so there are good times ahead.
Chaf-Pozi, Orlando Towers, corner of Chris Hani Road and Nicholas Street
This classy shisa nyama restaurant is where people can pull in, enjoy good local cuisine, sip on a cold one and vibe out to township music.
Zone 6, Black Chain Shopping Centre, corner of Chris Hani Road and Patrick Street
Zone 6 has played host to such acts as Mobb Deep, Jean Grae and Pharoahe Monch. The two-storey venue is mad swanky with its state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, massive stage, outside deck and a lavish pool area.
Orlando Towers, Chris Hani Road
A record-breaking extreme sports venue, this is the site of the first bungee jump between cooling towers in the world, and the site of the highest suspended catch air device freefall on the planet.
Soweto Bicycle Tours let you explore South Africa’s most famous township’s streets with a qualified guide, taking in historical sites like the former homes of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu.
South Africans are a diverse mix of peoples from Africa, Europe, Asia and elsewhere, and the many museums scattered around the country preserve rich histories, heritages and cultural traditions.
The Swazi people, part of the Nguni tribe, originated from east-central Africa in the late 15th century and settled in the area known as Swaziland.
There are many well-known historic and contemporary art works on display in art museums and galleries in each of South Africa's 9 provinces, with many important permanent art collections centred in the country's major cities.
There are many places to eat in Soweto from formal restaurants to more informal taverns and shebeens. There’s lots to experience in Soweto, so include a meal at one of the more popular restaurants as part of your tour itinerary.
Spending a night in a traditional African village is a great way to experience South Africa’s different cultures and fascinating traditions.