Ag in Africa

11 January, 2007

I love Soweto

Filed under: johannesburg, Soweto — Ag @ 8:54 pm

So for New Year’s Eve, we went to Soweto. Soweto. I love the name. I love the place. I have indulgent, romantic perceptions about the place and I’ve no intention of getting real.

Soweto is a city of 3.5 – 4 million people, mostly black. It’s huge and when you’re there, it stretches beyond the horizon. The names of the areas of Soweto range from the fantastic to the Orwellian…from Orlando, Pimville, Meadowlands to Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 3 etc. Funny how the old regime liked to make these places of forced poverty and degradation sound like paradise. Take the townships of ‘Eldorado Park’ and ‘Naturena’. Nothing could be further from the truth. So, why didn’t they go the whole hog and call them You-Lucky-People or You’ve-never-had-it-so-good?

On NYE we went to a house party in Meadowlands. They had a HUGE sound system thumping out house music in their tiny front garden, so the whole street was dancing. It was warm and lovely so everyone was outside. It was so loud that you had to get up very close and personal to talk. There were kids running, some old folk and lots of young people all dancing and smiling and shouting. Not a drop of cynicism or world-weariness in sight. Even mon amour was seen to dance, albeit briefly. And at midnight the whole of Soweto let off little single fireworks. The sky was full from every angle. The kids were setting them off in the street and running around with little handheld-put-put-rockets.

Which brings me to a NYE highlight that I think will never be repeated: naked men dancing on the roof of a house. Beat that.

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