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Day Fourteen - Exploring Johannesburg

My flight back to the US wasn't until evening, so I gathered with a few others and arranged a little exploration of Johannesburg. Our first stop was the Carlton Centre, which is the tallest building Africa, standing at 732 feet. It provided a cloudy, yet impressive view of the city.

Next we visited a very poor neighborhood known as Kliptown which has a county-high unemployment rate of 72% The conditions are quite harsh, with no running water, broken-down sheds for homes, and overpopulation. Those who have electricity receive it by climbing the electrical posts and illegally and dangerously connecting wires. We were invited into one of the homes, which were very small, dark, and cluttered. I couldn't help feeling like a voyeur, but they gain support by this kind of exposure.

A highlight of the area was a youth program that has been thriving with outside and community support. We met with many of the staff members and learned a lot about the program, including some recent recognition from CNN as one of the CNN Heroes of 2012.

View From the Carlton Centre, Johannesburg
(Click to Enlarge)
Houses of Kliptown Johannesburg
(Click to Enlarge)
Soccer City
(Click to Enlarge)

The Hector Pieterson Memorial Museum was next. Hector was shot and killed by police at the age of 13 when a large group of students gathered to protest the implementation of Afrikaans and English as dual medium of instruction in secondary schools regardless of the locally-spoken language. That date, June 16, became a symbol of resistance to the brutality of the apartheid government. Today it is known a Youth Day.

Our last stop was Soccer City, where some matches of the 2010 World Cup and 2009 and 2013 African Cup of Nations were held.

Returning to the hotel, we said our goodbyes and I was soon boarding a plane for a very long flight back home. It was an absolutely amazing trip.

Totsiens, Afrika!


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