On the flip side of the financial heart of downtown Johannesburg is the vast urban spread of Soweto (or the South Western Townships) which has mushroomed into the most populous black urban residential area in the country. 

©Andile Bhala
View of Soweto, South Africa.

With a population of well over a million souls, it stands at the forefront of the new African elite, setting trends in politics, fashion, music, dance and language.

By Jacques Marais

About Soweto

A tour of Soweto is unforgettable for most visitors. Tour guides will explain the fascinating history of Soweto, reliving highlights of Nels...more

History of Soweto

Soweto developed at the same time as Johannesburg, and for the same reason - gold. In 1885, the gold rush was in full swing, prospectors fro...more

Important Dates and Places in Soweto

In 1955 (25 and 26 June), a two-day gathering at Kliptown in Soweto was held by the of the Congress of the People. It was perhaps the most d...more

Sound of Soweto

'Township Music' probably started as a crossover between gospel choirs and black minstrel shows that developed as early as the 1920’s....more

Soweto After Dark

One of the inevitable consequences of prohibition is bootlegging, with all its attendant crimes and profits. Many shebeen owners are known t...more

Soweto by Night

It was once appropriate to say that when night fell on Soweto is was like a prison gate, or like the hand of death, because that was what ni...more

Soweto Heritage

Heroes' Acre in the Avalon Cemetery in Soweto has been set aside for heroes of the apartheid struggle years. Activists buried in the cemeter...more

Soweto History: The 1900s

The history of Soweto and the surrounding area is grim and disheveled one. However, today the town stands as a beacon of hope that the strug...more

Soweto Township Tour

A township tour is an awe-inspiring experience. Soweto is perhaps the country's best known township, and a visit with a renowned tour operat...more

Soweto: Colourful Urban Sprawl

Soweto, part of Johannesburg City, is a vibrant, colourful urban sprawl with a chequered history. Its people are truly cosmopolitan, with th...more

Soweto's Gloomy Soul

The name Soweto, along with words like apartheid, Sharpeville, Biko and Mandela, is instantly recognized in most parts of the world....more

Stories of Soweto

For South Africa’s largest black city, Soweto has an extraordinarily stable population. This is hardly surprising considering that until t...more

The People of Soweto

The people of Soweto speak Zulu. They also speak Sotho, Tswana, and Xhosa, intermingled with a number of different vernacular dialects. They...more

The Sisulu Family

Like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu was born in Transkei in 1912, three months after the formation of the ANC. He left school after standard ...more

The Soweto Uprising: June 16, 1976

On the cold, smog-choked morning of June 16, 1976, the children of Soweto awoke with an unusual eagerness. With excitement brimming over on ...more

What to Know About Soweto

Musician Johnny Clegg (dubbed 'the white Zulu' by the European media) came onto the SA music scene in the 1960’s....more

Youth of Soweto

One of the most significant things about June 16 1976 and its aftermath was that with the impatience of youth, the children of Soweto (and c...more