South of Johannesburg is Soweto, a city developed as a township for black people under the apartheid system. Most of the struggle against apartheid was fought in and from Soweto. The name Soweto is an acronym, made up – in apartheid days – from the first letters of the words “south western township”.
It is a popular tourist destination with sites such as Kliptown (where the Freedom Charter was drawn up), the home of former President Nelson Mandela, the Hector Petersen Memorial site, restaurants and shopping malls. It boasts one of the largest hospitals on the continent and the only African-owned private clinic (see Soweto Map).
Here, you can visit Nelson Mandela’s first house (left) which is a popular tourist attraction. Mandela stayed here before he was imprisoned in 1961. Security guards will not let you in, but you can see the modest house clearly enough from the street. You can also have a glimpse of the mansion belonging to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in an affluent part of Orlando West. Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s house, the Sisulu residence and the Hector Pieterson memorial museum are in the same neighbourhood. The recently renovated museum offers a detailed account of the events of 1976, including visuals and eye-witness accounts.
Despite poverty, the people of Soweto have managed to build a strong sense of community. They remain in Johannesburg in search of the elusive gold. Many of these places have been named after the icons of the struggle who have since left in response to the beckoning of upward mobility. One such settlement is the Mandela squatter camp some seven kilometres from Baragwanath hospital.
Source : South Africa Explored