Soweto and the Saxon


After checking out of the Shepherd’s Tree Lodge we boarded our buses and headed to Soweto.  Soweto gets its name from the first two letters of SOuth WEstern TOwnship which is what Soweto was once known as.  We visited the most popular street in Soweto, Vilakazi Street.

The street’s fame derives from its two most well-known residents, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.  Bishop Tutu’s house id a private residence so we could not tour it.  Mandela’s House is a public attraction so we began our walk up the street.


As we walked there was constant street entertainment and open air stalls lining the steret.

We got to Mandela’s House.

We gathered in the courtyard to listen to a brief history.  The woman who spoke to us is a direct descendant of Nelson Mandela.

There is an interesting story about the tree you see behind the sitting group.  Here is a better picture.


When each of Mandela’s children were born, after their umbilical fell off, the cords were buried under this tree.  This is the way to show that the human spirit is connected to the earth.

We then had time to walk around the house.  If the house seems small it is because it is.  In this picture you can see bullet holes from when police shot at the house.


Pictures from the inside include the living room, the kitchen where Winnie cooked, and one  daughter’s bedroom.  There are also plaques and pictures adorning the walls.

Winnie had the wall you see in this picture built to protect her children from gunshots.


Sorry for the sideways shot.  Couldn’t rotate it.

One last shoe of Kathy and me before we head to lunch.


From here we walked up the street to The Wine Bar where we had lunch.  Food was delicious.


After lunch we once again boarded the buses to head to our lodging for the night.  We were booked at the Saxon. It was only for one night since we were headed to Zambia the next day.  Because it was just for one night you can see that the accommodations were just so-so.

Here is the grand entrance.


Here is one of the lobbies.


There was a display of Nelson Mandela’s books in one side room.

Imagine a wall of baskets.


The bedrooms were a bit on the small side.

Oh well, we survived the night.

The next morning we left for Zambia.  Of course he had to have breakfast before we left.(I’ll bet you thought there would be no food pictures in this post.)

Here is the dining room.


And the breakfast buffet.

Next week, on to Zambia.



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15 responses to “Soweto and the Saxon

  1. Love the pictures! What an educational and inspiring trip.

  2. I continue to be amazed by all this, Bob! Your pictures are fantastic and make me feel like I am there.

  3. lindabaie

    I’m sorry about those “lesser” accommodations! Ha! What a trip this is to dazzle. It is so special to see Nelson Mandela’s home and hear some of the stories. Keep going, I love every part!

  4. I love all the pictures. The bullet holes in Nelson Mandela’s house are quite a piece of history to witness! Wow.

  5. What a piece of history you got to experience! This is even more exciting than the Safari.

  6. I had chills looking at those pictures of Mandela’s house – and all that food spread out so enticingly made me hungry. Your post was quite a sensory experience, Bob!

  7. What an honor to visit Nelson Mandela’s home and I never knew that SOWETO was an acronym.

  8. More than 15 years ago, my 16-year-old son visited Soweto while on a solo trip to Botswana to visit a field camp to observe the wild dog population. At the time, it was risky to visit Soweto, so I am surprised to see the signs, etc. in your photos. What amazes me is how time affects everything. How American tourists are now visiting Vietnam regularly. How people are now routinely visiting Cuba. And now Soweto is considered a tourist stop. You must feel like you are dreaming at times. Thanks for all the photos. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

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