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Off the Beaten Path

Btweeen hope and Depair

SOUTH AFRICA | Wednesday, 14 May 2014 | Views [106] | Scholarship Entry

I’ll never forget the day when we touched down in Johannesburg South Africa. We were immediately whisked off to SOWETO….which is an acronym for South Western Townships. SOWETO is notorious for the uprisings which took place there eventually leading to the end of Apartheid in South Africa. SOWETO is also known for being the home of Nelson Mandela and Arch-Bishop Desmond Tutu. One can sense the winds of history while meandering through the dirt paths and allies of this place. Over a million people live in SOWETOIt is a hub of social vicissitude and it’s easy to understand why. One third of all Johannesburg residents live in Soweto; crammed into 16 square miles. It is a place teeming with energy and vitality, but also with the wounds of the past.
The Regina Mundi Catholic Church,;often referred to as "the people's church" or "the people's cathedral" was once known as a hub of anti-apartheid activism still bears the scars of the past. The Christ statue is still armless (due to the arms being shot off by police during anti-apartheid riots.) Several meetings of the truth and reconciliation commission were held at the church, presided over by Arch-Bishop Desmond Tutu.
Moving onto the (still extant) shanti town of SOWETO, one can’t help but feel a dichotomy of hope, and despair.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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