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Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa: One Day in “The Heartbeat of the Nation”

My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” - Bishop Desmond Tutu

Last summer I found myself returning to one of my favorite cities in the world, Johannesburg, South Africa! Rich in history, culture, and the iconic symbol of struggle against apartheid and for human rights, Johannesburg is the place to be immersed in true South African culture.
Jo’burg or Jozi as some prefer to call it, is South Africa’s biggest city and began as a 19th-century gold-mining settlement and is the vibrant heart of South Africa. After years of decline during apartheid, it is a rapidly changing city which is now looking optimistically towards the future. Upon arriving in Johannesburg, we spent the evening in Rosebank, a vibrant and multi- cultural district. This community is the perfect example of how the city is moving toward the future, a successful balance of residential and business districts.
Welcome to Soweto: Freedom, Memories, Monuments & People
The next morning, we set off to take in the sights and sounds of the sprawling Soweto township. Upon our arrival in Soweto, we were met by Ms. Elizabeth, our local guide, who grew up in the West Orlando area of Soweto during apartheid, and still lives there today. She studied French, and became a French teacher in Soweto. Now during her “pension” years, she guides people through Soweto sharing the history and some of her experiences. One of the things Ms. Elizabeth pointed out that is a misconception to most visitors, is that Soweto today is a poor community. But in fact, the community consist of families with mixed-income levels, like communities in the United States.