Imagine Growing Up on this Street
I had the opportunity to do a tour of Soweto and I spent some time on the famous street of Vilakazi. It is the only street in the world than can boast the homes of two Nobel Peace Prize winners.
Vilakazi Street is the most famous street in Soweto, and is the only street in the world to have had two Noble Prize winners as its residents. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu lived on Vilakazi Street. Nelson Mandela’s house has now become a museum, and is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Gauteng. The house has been preserved in exactly the same state it was when the Mandelas lived in it in the 1960’s. Visitors to the museum include international tourists, heads of states and local residents keen to learn about the great man. The Tutus’ house is across the street from the Mandelas and is still used as a normal home by the Tutu family. The Tutu house is also a major tourist attraction (not open to the public) and is an important part of the rich history of the Vilakazi Street precinct.
Vilakazi Street is also home to one the most famous schools in Soweto, Orlando West High School. The school was one of the most active during the 16th June 1976 student protests. Pupils gathered at this school before the historic events of 1976. The popularity of Vilakazi Street has created business opportunities for residents of this area. Restaurants have been established to cater for the needs of tourists and local visitors to the area. Local artists are also taking advantage of the influx of visitors by offering their wares for sale.
Catching Up With Friends in Pretoria
I had the opportunity to catch up with my friend, Floyd Moloko and his co-worker, Vincent one day during my time in Pretoria. The two of them work for the national government in the Department of Arts and Culture. Floyd and I met through a mutual friend in Beijing during the Olympics. We started the night at Floyd's house for a traditional South African meal and then drinks at their favorite pub. Not unlike a few other countries I have been to lately, the pub was located at a mall. Unfortunately, the American mall concept has become the hip and happening spot for people to meet up in many countries.
An Antarctica Reunion
During my time in Johannesburg, Tom and Kay Cottrell organized a mini Antarctica reunion. Last march Tom and I met in Antarctica during the marathon. He was running with two friends from South Africa, Charles and Demetri. One Sunday, the Cottrells invited Charles and Demetri and their significant others for a brunch. It was great to get reconnected and reminisce about our time in the cold.
Though I had some incredible experiences while I was in South Africa, nothing will compare to the day I spent in Ficksburg celebrating the Obama Inauguration. Here is the picture from that night of the people I celebrated with at the Bottling Company.