In August 2014, soon after Chris and I arrived in South Africa, we visited Soweto. I didn’t previously know that the name of the township was made up of the English words SOuth WEstern TOwnship.
It was a day of very mixed feelings. I was honestly surprised, and also pleased to see quite a lot of “middle-class” type housing. Soweto is clearly beginning to change from the years of the struggle, when we remember the terrible images from TV and the newspapers. And yet towards the end of our visit, we saw some of the shacks that still exist, and in which people still live.
It was moving and quite shocking to visit the Regina Mundi church, where people used to meet, after being banned from meeting anywhere else, and to see the bullet holes still visible. The Hector Pieterson memorial was a sad reminder of the apartheid days. A day of very mixed images and feelings, but I’m glad we went.
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