After the 2 day wedding in South Africa of my friend, we decided to go on a bike tour through Soweto, a suburb of Johannesburg, on our last day. The majority of the working class settled down here. Soweto not only accommodates many Black Africans but has also been home to the famous activist Nelson Mandela.
During our 2 hours Soweto bike tour, we stopped on interesting, historical sites such as Meadowlands (another suburb), Hector Pieterson Memorial and Mandela’s house.
The Soweto bike tour started and ended in Lebo’s Backpacker Hostel. The price included a local tour guide and nice mea for only 30€ (430ZAR).
The first stop was Meadowlands, where we squeezed into a small room and had delicious local food and drinks. We enjoyed the local Johannesburg beer straight from the tetra pack, which with around 3% is not the strongest, so we were still able to bike.
The lamb was cut into pieces and served with salt and some kind of paprika spice where you could dip the meat into.
Hector Pieterson Memorial
The next stop in our Soweto bike tour was the site of the student uprising and Hector Pieterson Memorial.
What was this uprising about? Students peacefully protested in the streets of Soweto against the introduction of Afrikaans as a compulsory lecture language in school. When police arrived, some students started throwing stones at them and their dogs as well as later on setting cars and buildings on fire. Police responded by firing tear gas and shots.
The first victim was Hector Pieterson, who ever since became the symbol of the uprising. The photo where he is being carried by another student while his sister is running next to them was published around the world.
Nelson Mandela House
The last stop during our Soweto bike tour was the Mandela house. Unfortunately, we were unable to enter that day but our tour guide told the story in such a lively way that I got goosebumps all over my body. He really let Mandela come back alive by citing him and explaining what he lived for all those years. My favorite words:
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. – Nelson Mandela
I really have to say, this Soweto bike tour was a great way of exploring Johannesburg and its unique suburb. First of all it is eco-friendly and you can cross areas where you probably won’t be able to enter by car.
If you happen to be in Johannesburg and would like to do the same tour through Soweto, have a look at their website. You can even book online.
That’s it from me now. Hope you enjoyed the short history class and trip through Soweto.