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Spend the day strolling around Soweto, and get to know the famous township up close and personal – it is an experience not to be missed.
ASK any Sowetan of their view of local or international visitors to the townships and the answer is most likely to be: “We see them pass by in big buses peering through windows.”

Vilakazi Street: Popular among visitors to SowetoVilakazi Street: Popular among visitors to SowetoBut now, Past Experiences, a tour operator that offers walking and public transport tours of the Joburg inner city, is giving visitors an opportunity to explore Soweto on foot and mingle with the locals.

“Soweto is a very important part of Joburg historically and today. Everyone should think about it as another suburb of Joburg and utilise it, be it on the weekends for lunch, or a day out,” says Jo Buitendach, the founder of Past Experiences.

On Saturday, 3 March, people who want to join the tour will meet outside Sci-Bono Discovery Centre on Miriam Makeba Street in Newtown at 9am, and take a walk over to the nearest Rea Vaya bus station.

The first stop will be at Vilikazi Street, where they will get off the bus and explore the street on foot. On this famous street, they will visit Mandela House, the home of Nelson Mandela and his family, which has been turned into a museum.

Vilikazi Street is the only street in the world to have had two Nobel Peace prize winners as it residents – Mandela and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who still lives in his home when he is in Johannesburg. It is also the street where 12-year-old Hector Pieterson was shot dead at the start of the riots on June 16, 1976.

The tour includes rides in a Rea Vaya busThe tour includes rides in a Rea Vaya busFrom Mandela House, the visitors will hop back on to a Rea Vaya bus to take a look at the photography collection at Regina Mundi Church. The Catholic church was pivotal in the township’s history of resistance to apartheid.

This will be followed by a picnic lunch in Thokoza Park, where visitors can play soccer with the locals or explore and take photographs. “If anyone would like to lie back, chill and enjoy a bottle of beer there is a bottle store within walking distance. After a relaxing but fun day, we will board the bus again and head back to Jozi,” says Buitendach.

The cost of the Soweto tour is R270 per person, which covers transport, entrance fees and a picnic lunch. The lunch will include a Portuguese roll filled with cheese and salad or chicken mayonnaise, crisps, a muffin, fruit and juice.

Visitors can park their cars outside Sci-Bono, opposite the SAB World of Beer. Bookings can be made by sending an email to or by telephoning 011 678 3905.

Related stories:

Walk down Vilikazi Street
Take a tour of inner city
Go shopping in the CBD
Making science interesting
Related links:

Rea Vaya
Sci-Bono Discovery Centre