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Mayor Mpho Franklyn Parks Tau
Best of Soweto is an urban area of the city of Johannesburg in Gauteng, South Africa, bordering the city’s mining belt in the south.
Its name is an English syllabic abbreviation for South Western Townships.Formerly a separate municipality, it is now incorporated in the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, Suburbs of Johannesburg.
Best of Soweto, the most populous of the historically black urban residential areas in South Africa and an iconic site, rich in political history, appears to be a town steeped in consumer culture. Malls have sprung up in every suburb and housing prices have boomed over the years.
The Roots 2013 survey, recently released by the Newspaper Advertising Bureau, is the largest survey to look at communities in terms of the urban landscape in South Africa and has gathered consumer information from 115 of these communities.
Best of Soweto is home to more than 40% of Johannesburg’s residents and the 10 Best of Soweto suburbs surveyed paint a fairly congruous picture. Most respondents frequent shopping malls, own cellphones and said they had bought a takeaway meal at least once in the past month.
The data showed that monthly household income in these 10 suburbs ranges from R6 000 in Jabavu to R8 900 in Orlando and is topped only by R11400 in Protea. Between 36% and 61% of the community in the suburbs are employed; and between 21% and 39% own a car.
Property prices in the area are increasing, which is an indication of the growing middle class in Best of Soweto.
According to Lightstone, a provider of comprehensive data, analytics and systems on property, automotive and business assets, the number of property transactions in Best of Soweto has fluctuated over recent years, but the transaction value has increased significantly.
For example, in 2002 Lightstone recorded close to 16 000 transactions to the value of R167-million. In 2012, fewer than 4 500 transactions were recorded, but with a transaction value of almost R700-million.
South Africa is ranked 59 with an Economic Complexity Index (ECI) of 0.259518
Top 5 Products exported by South Africa
- Gold (18%),
- Platinum (7.8%),
- Coal Briquettes (7.4%),
- Diamonds (7.3%),
- Iron Ore (4.8%)
Top 5 Export destinations of South Africa
You have not really experienced life in South Africa until you’ve visited a township, and Best of Soweto, to the south-west of Johannesburg, is the largest of them all. This area is also famous for its role in the struggle against apartheid, and there are now many sites of historical significance. The easiest way to visit Soweto is on an official township tour, and you can make the trip as long or short as you like.
The present-day Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto was originally built for convalescing British and Commonwealth soldiers.
A tour of Best of Soweto (short for South-Western Townships) is a must for any visitor keen to get a taste of the vibrant and gritty street life this township is renowned for.
By rights more of a city in modern-day South Africa than just a traditional township, Best of Soweto has its roots in the gold mines that drew migrant workers to Johannesburg at the turn of the 20th century.Today a township tour of this sprawling area will take you to see many of the highlights of the country’s political history.
These include a stop at Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown, where South Africa’s Freedom Charter (a document used to help draft the country’s Constitution) was signed in 1955.
Another important landmark is the Hector Pieterson memorial and museum, the site of the famous Soweto uprising of 16 June 1976, which saw school pupils take to the streets to protest against the use of Afrikaans as the language of instruction in schools. The iconic news photograph of a dying 13-year-old Pieterson, cradled in the arms of a fellow school pupil after being shot by the police, drew attention to South Africa’s oppressive racial policies.
Then there is the famous Vilakazi Street, once home to two Nobel Peace Prize winners, namely former president Nelson Mandela and Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Here visitors can linger over a glass of beer or a meal in one of several taverns or restaurants lining the street.
Other Best of Soweto highlights include the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, listed by Guinness World Records in 1997 as the largest hospital in the world, as well as the brightly coloured Orlando Towers, where the more adventurous can opt for an urban bungee jump.
As a visitor, the easiest and safest way to experience Best of Soweto is to go on a township tour, which could last anything from a whistle-stop two hours to a whole day or an overnight stay
Nelson Mandela House – Nelson Mandela National Museum
- The Nelson Mandela National Museum, commonly referred to as Mandela House, is the house on Vilakazi Street, Orlando West, Soweto, South Africa, where Nelson Mandela lived from 1946 to 1962. It is located at number 8115, at the corner of Vilakazi and Ngakane streets, a short distance up the road from Tutu House, the home of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
- Mandela donated the house to the Soweto Heritage Trust (of which he was the founder) on 1 September 1997, to be run as a museum.
- It was declared a National Heritage Site in 1999.