Soweto, like neighbouring Johannesburg, rose up as a direct result of the discovery of Gold in 1885, and is a product of bygone segregationist apartheid planning. The gold rush drew thousands of people to the area to seek their fortunes and to gain employment. The majority of the population was black, living in makeshift shanty towns near the gold mines in the centre of the town. The need for labour continued to increase, and migrant labour was set in place with most of the workers living in mining compounds. The living conditions in both the compounds and the shanty towns was most often shocking. Soweto is a lively, vibrant town bursting with passion for the future. It makes for a fascinating cultural experience for those who want to explore more than the usual tourist traps. Take a day tour or if you have time, stay for a few days to get a real feel for Soweto. Visit the heritage sites, museums, restuarants and shebeens and feel the bustling energy that is Soweto, with informal traders plying their wares on every corner. Soweto is the largest black urban residential area in the country, with close to a million people. It has a young cosmopolitan culture, often setting trends in music, fashion, language and dance.
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