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Strange. Decadent. Engaging. Words to describe a Soweto tour. Soweto, short for South Western Township, is a shanty town near Johannesburg. No utilities, no running water, no amenities. Sound like a tourist attraction? We followed local guides down sewage choked streets into tin shack homes, listening to depressing stories of the people living here. We felt like intruders as we walked into their homes, yet the people seemed anxious to show us how they survived, because these neighborhoods are tests of survival. The residents use car batteries for electricity and home-made kerosene stoves for cooking. They build their own homes with material scrounged from scrap heaps and garbage dumps. They walk to fill old jerrycans with water from public taps (5 taps are shared amongst a community of 70,000 people - Soweto is divided into 52 'communities' of approximately 70,000 people in each one). They use government donated yellow outhouses (90 toilets for one community). Ever need to feel overpriveleged? Visit Soweto, this slum, where residents are friendly, smiling (desperate for any income despite 90% unemployment), and trying to turn their poverty into an asset as a tourist attraction.
Inside a Soweto home, a one-room place built from scratch by a women with two young sons.
Soweto streets