They call it J’burg, Joburg, Jossie, “the city that never sleeps”, “the city of gold”, this city goes by many names. The last of the nicknames is perhaps the most accurate one, as this is one of the biggest cities in the world that is not built next to a sea, lake or river, all because during the 19th century they found a huge underground deposit of gold. Now, it’s the economic capital of Southern Africa.
I won’t lie, it’s very dangerous to walk in the city center by night, but during the day it’s fine, as long as you watch your pockets. You can find several interesting graffiti, there are many monuments related to the gold mine, the Anti-Apartheid movement and even other influential figures like Ghandi that remind of the struggles that the people of Johannesburg went through in the history of the city and South Africa.
During the beginning of the Democracy in ’94 most of the business on the CBD moved to other areas, and even today you can see many abandoned buildings in the city center. For this reason Johannesburg covers a very expanse area forming a metropolis.
The tour to Soweto was for me the highlight of the touristic activities. In addition to Mandela’s House, there are memorials of different significant events during the Anti-Apartheid protests. Some think that Soweto is a township, but it’s actually a whole city on it’s own.
A tour to the Apartheid Museum is an engaging experience where you can learn of the historical events that lead to the transition from Apartheid to Democracy and what the people were feeling like during these times. It caught my attention a small prison room with three tiny confinement cells.
I got the opportunity to stay with two different couch surfers, both very interesting. In particular, Des was part of the parliament during the first South African Democracy, so I got some insight of this part of the history, and what it was like to work so close to Madiba (Mandela).
After Johannesburg I visited Pretoria, which is one of the three capital cities of South Africa. South Africans often say Pretoria is just the house of the Embassies. There is much more to see, but due to the bad weather, I only have this picture to share with you.
On Tuesday 14th June I take a bus to Gaborone, leaving South Africa behind… for now. I already miss it.