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Graffiti and Soweto

April 9

We have a full day to explore Johannesburg accompanied by the amazing, and fun, Jo Buitendach. Jo has a degree in History & Archeology, and a Bachelor of Science and Honors in Archaeology from the University of the Witswaterstrand. She is currently enrolled at The University of Cape Town completing a Masters Degree in Conservation of the Built Environment. Her enthusiasm for the Johannesburg Inner City, its history, culture and rejuvenation is infectious.

Jo shows us around her favorite graffiti sites, the Public Art future developments of the Maboneng Precinct, Braamfontein and its surrounding community. We walk through an open-air museum with rich exhibits of public art, urban living, fascinating history and amazing architecture. I have seen (different) parts of these areas with Angus, early in the trip, but Jo’s familiarity with all of the artists and styles of graffiti, street art and murals that we see is extraordinary and transforms the experience. We walk into some shops and have lunch in Joburg’s most recent modern, called Victoria Square, built around a former industrial area.

In the afternoon we drive by the impressive football stadium and then drive through Soweto, a township of some four million people, whose history is intimately involved with apartheid in South Africa. We drive down one street that is the only street in the world on which two Nobel Peace Laureates lived, Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu. While some of the areas of Soweto are now well-to-do and rather upscale, most of it reflects the image that people have of the area.

In the evening we have a farewell dinner, though only Stan and I will not be joining the group on a three-day safari. Two young men entertain us at the dinner. Prior to the dinner, I read the “real South African blog,” to the group which takes a light look at what transpired on the trip. The “real blog” is well received.

Stan and I bid farewell to the group, who will be leaving early in the morning.

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