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Jozi, as the city is known by locals, has seen tremendous development in the last 10 years. A stroll down Maboneng reveals the city’s renaissance: the colorful murals of this celebrated street remind you that Johannesburg has finally redefined itself as one of the great metropolises the world. History, politics, and diversity have combined to give the city of gold a unique air of enchantment.
Featuring dozens of public artworks scattered about the neighborhood, from landmark murals to wonderful sculptures, the “place of light,” as the name means in Sesotho, is a top destination in Johannesburg. Offering a mix of unique restaurants, cafes, markets and art galleries, a visit here reveals why Maboneng has earned a well-deserved name as the center of creative energy.
Constitution Hill is a living museum that tells the story of South Africa’s journey to democracy. While the buildings of Constitution Hill showcase the horrors of some of the darkest hours of the 20th century in South Africa, they also paint an optimistic future. Daily tours are available to give the visitor a touching look into South Africa’s past.
Soweto is arguably the most famous and, in the past, most notorious city in South Africa. The post-apartheid period, however, has transformed the neighborhood into a bustling center of creativity, restaurants, culture and music. Most, however, come to visit the places of historical significance that can be found here. These include the home of former President Nelson Mandela, as well as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the Hector Pieterson Museum.
The Apartheid Museum exhibits the rise and fall of the South African era of segregation and oppression. It uses a variety of media to give a moving insight into the architecture and implementation of the apartheid system, and recaps the struggle for democracy in the country. It is an invaluable institution to help understand the inequalities and tensions that still exist today in South Africa.
The Hector Pieterson Museum offers insights into the origins of the Soweto uprisings and their consequences. The museum was named after one of the first schoolchildren killed by the police during the 1976 Soweto uprising. Personal testimonies and videos are used emotively—a fitting way to understand the historical context of this city.
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