Johannesburg. Some six years ago, when I was first visiting the South African capital city, I honestly did not make much of a connection. This time though, it was all different. Despite the little time we had for “Jo’burg” during our South African adventure trip, I did finally feel some more of the vibe of Johannesburg. Met & mingled with the locals, ate from their plates, felt the goosebumps from looking at Nelson Mandela’s original, handwritten letters. Wow. Honestly, taking this walk into the “inner sanctuary” of Nelson Mandela’s house of late .. It still humbles me deeply, to remember the privilege of that experience.
So let me take you by the hand, and give you an idea of what is possible in Jo’burg – even if you only have little time to visit.
Besides culture, food & some first South African vibes, do not miss a visit to Nelson Mandela’s house, and “his hood” Soweto!
The story of Nelson Mandela’s life is touching for sure, and even more so when you visit the place where he lived for so long. Talking about his house of late, now home to the Nelson Mandela Foundation, we met with Sello Hatang, the foundation’s present CEO, and immediately take to his charismatic way of being: Likely, an inspiration felt from the very spirit of Nelson Mandela himself. After a short session of Q & A, Sello offers to lead us right down into the cellars, opening up several books full of handwritten notes and letters Nelson Mandela wrote in his lifetime (in some of the eleven languages he is credited to have mastered). Amazing. Given the fact that he spent almost thirty years of his life behind bars, it is completely humbling to think of the conciliatory, peaceful, and utterly humble spirit he managed to maintain throughout his life, serving as an inspiration for so many. Check this out.
Last but not least, do plan a visit to Soweto, the original home of Nelson Mandela & some true, South African vibes.
Right here, inside the largest “city district of Johannesburg” (which prefers to claim a city status of its own, having outgrown even the town of Johannesburg itself), life as we know it is in full swing. Music on the streets, Zulu dancers perform in front of us, souvenir markets line the streets, and people of all ages (and colours) are around. Next thing we know, we are invited to take a seat “Chez Alina” (at Alina’s restaurant): The lady of the house uses charm & education to fight youth poverty & unemployment in her neighbourhood. She employs local teenagers and adults as waiters and chefs, much in line with Nelson Mandela’s motto “Education is the most powerful tool you have to change the world”. The food being delicious, we love to support her with our visit, and I am delighted to learn that she is planning on hosting cooking courses in the near future, too!
Guess I’ll have to come back soon again, then … Creative Travel in South Africa, here I come 😀
Check out more pictures from my trip around South Africa, the Rainbow Country:
If like me, you can’t get enough, check out the amazing safari we did prior to our visit in Johannesburg. The video, too, is beautiful as it is:
Disclaimer: We have been invited by the South African Embassy, Tourism Board & Qatar Airways on this trip to South Africa. All opinions are my own.