South Africa is a rich melting pot of cultures and heritages so why not spend an afternoon visiting one of these sites and embrace what makes us so unique. From museums and African village visits to exploring Soweto by foot or bike, there’s plenty of heritage to see in Gauteng.
Constitution Hill in Braamfontein
Johannesburg’s Constitution Hill remembers the sadness of the past, embraces the promises of the future, and the reality of the present. It is home to the Constitutional Court, the birthplace of our democracy and protector of our human rights. Take a tour of the infamous prison where some of the most famous political prisoners were sent, including Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Albertina Sisulu and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Origins Centre in Braamfontein
This destination is filled with interesting artefacts and information about the past. It is informative and also offers a unique experience of Africa’s rich and complex heritage. It also boasts an extensive collection of rock art from the Wits Rock Art Research Institute. Stroll through the museum and step back in time with their exhibits showcasing the origins of mankind; the development of art, symbolism and technology in Africa and a variety of fossils.
Liliesleaf Farm – Rivonia
Often called the Home of the Freedom Struggle, this place was a “hide-out” and meeting place for top ANC and SACP activists. This was also the site of the Liliesleaf Farm police raid on 11 July 1963 that resulted in the Rivonia Treason Trials and eventual incarceration of many senior ANC leaders.
The Apartheid Museum in downtown Johannesburg
The Apartheid Museum focuses on the system of racial discrimination that became synonymous with South Africa from 1948-1994. The Apartheid Museum, close to downtown Johannesburg, even greets visitors with a very real reflection of what it was like to live in a racially segregated society.
Cradle of Humankind -Muldersdrift
This is a must-visit when you have some time over a weekend, and it’s great for kids too. The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site includes Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves and encompasses 200 caves holding some of the world’s most valuable fossils, many dating back three million years.
Township Tours – Soweto
For a heritage tour like no other, this tour shows visitors the important historical sites in the area, as well as different lifestyles, cultures and fashion. Soweto is rich with history and the tours create positive awareness of Soweto with both locals and visitors from across the globe. Experience this modern township, interact with the local people, hear their untold stories, listen to their music and sharein the traditional food. It’s sure to be an experience you’ll never forget.
The Hector Pieterson Museum – Soweto
The Hector Pieterson Museum is a heritage site intrinsically linked to the origins of the Soweto Uprisings and its aftermath. On 16 June 1976, thousands of students had gathered in Orlando West around Vilakazi Street, the precinct where the Hector Pieterson Museum is located to begin a protest march against the imposition of the Afrikaans language as the medium of instruction in Soweto’s schools. Police opened fire, killing Hastings Ndlovu and Hector Pieterson.
After 16 and 17 June 1976, nothing in South Africa would be the same again. An old era was past. A new one was beginning.
Houses of heroes – Soweto
The precinct also includes Nelson Mandela’s Orlando West house, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s house and the Sisulu’s, all of which are a few metres away from the museum. Mandela House in Vilakazi Street, Soweto, was Nelson Mandela’s house from 1946 until he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964. The house preserves the history and legacy of the Mandela Family. Vilakazi Street is the only street in the world where two Nobel Peace Prize laureates have lived.
Lesedi Cultural Village – Broederstroom
Experience the unique and vibrant African cultures first-hand at Lesedi Cultural Village which is within the Cradle of Humankind. Here you’ll be able to discover the fascinating cultures and traditions of some of the people of Africa by visiting five traditional homesteads inhabited by Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Basotho and Ndebele tribes, living according to tribal folklore and traditions of their ancestors.
Union Buildings – Pretoria
Home to a 9 metre high bronze statue of Nelson Mandela, it is the tallest sculpture of our former president in existence. The sculpture positions Madiba with his arms out, symbolising his embrace of the whole nation and with one foot forward indicating a nation on the move. This is also where our democracy began. The buildings housed Madiba’s offices from 1994 to 1999, as well as his body (lay in state) after his passing.
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