After a good night's sleep, we hopped on our trusty bus and headed to the township of Soweto, where we would be shown around by Tulani, one of the founders of the Kliptown Youth Program.
Soweto is a township of
approximately 2.5 million people, almost entirely black (more than 98%
according to Wikipedia).
While I was prepared for the economic disparity between white and black South
Africa, I was not prepared for the disparity within the townships, but
Soweto is like any other large city -- it has areas of enormous wealth and
then across a major road you'll find areas of extreme poverty, where the
fortunate have government constructed small homes and the less
fortunate have tiny homes of corrugated metal.
We began our tour at the Chris Hana medical center, the largest hospital
in the Southern Hemisphere, providing service to 1.5 million people.
As so many people commute to the area, across the street is a large
collection of taxi stands, merchants, street vendors, etc. It's most
definitely a happening place.
Sisulu Square, in the heart of Kliptown, site of the adoption of
The charter, adopted in 1955 at the Congress of Kliptown, laid out ten
essential freedoms, each of which is represented in the square by a
tall pillar, with a statue on top and the freedom engraved on the side.
The charter also served as the foundation for the Constitution of
In addition to the pillars, there is a conical structure in the square that is a monument to the freedom charter itself. And then a collection of silhouette people, representing all the people of South Africa.
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Long ago (1988) I moved to Berkeley and started sending a monthly "newsletter" to my Boston friends. When I returned to Boston (1993), I continued the tradition for about five more years (or until I had kids). Looking back, I realize that I was actually blogging. Each newsletter contained anywhere from a few to several blog posts. Having been silent for the past decade or so, I've decided to resume these activities. Don't expect anything profound -- I tend to focus on what I find entertaining or amusing and perhaps sometimes informative. We shall see!