JOSEPH RANJAN

INDIAN BACKPACKER

Johannesburg – South Africa

Johannesburg – The city where Nelson Mandela lived from 1946 to 1962.

Constitution Hill in Johannesburg is the prison where Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela were kept in various times. Now this place is converted as Museum and is available for public to view. The museum explains how a white prisoner is treated better compared to black prisoner and Asian prisoners.

My guide told me that there was a time the president of South Africa made a rule that if a black man come to visit Johannesburg in search of job from his village, he has to apply for a permit and get approval. If any black man visit Johannesburg without that permit they will be sent to prison for that reason. I see some pictures of prisoners who were put in that jail for that reason. It is the peak of racism. They restrict people of their own country based on how they appear.

History of City

The city was founded in 19th century when they found the gold deposits in the region. The white people take over the place and start gold mining. They employed many black people in the mining process to extract gold.

They also provided house for the black employees at the south west side of Johannesburg with limited facilities. This is why the name ‘SOWETO’ came. It is the short form for ‘South West Township’ for black people. This is where Nelson Mandela lived with his wife. Nelson Mandela wife is also a employee in the white people company so they provided her the house in Soweto.

The guide told me that they provide only one bucket of water once in every few days and the whole family has to live with it. He said apart from the cooking the remaining water they keep in a big bowl and one by one family member take bath inside the bucket starts from Father, Mother, Children… by sitting inside bowl and bath on same water.

Today Mandela house is set as Museum and it is available for everyone to visit with an entry fee.

Also during the visit to Soweto i heard the story of ‘Hector Pieterson’ who lost his life at the age of 13 to a bullet during a protest happened against white people forcing Afrikaans language in the schools. A picture was taken by a journalist when his cousin brother took his wounded body and run towards clinic. The picture got attention of the world and the United Nations started to get involved. The picture got 3 people. Hector Pieterson, his cousin brother and his cousin sister. I was lucky to see the cousin sister who was in that picture as she comes to ‘Hector Pieterson’ museum everyday and spend sometime around and go back to home. But his cousin brother was never found since the photograph got viral in the international media and got world’s attention. As the government become so angry, he escaped to nearest country for his life is what the latest information they have. No one knows what happened to him after that. No one never heard from him. The museum has plenty of information about Soweto Uprising event.

Visa to South Africa

Indian tourists can get FREE visa to South Africa. The visa has to be applied through VFS only. VFS charge around INR 2500 for the logistics fee and they deliver passport in home.

Use the following link to begin your visa process:

https://www.vfsglobal.com/southafrica/india/visitors-visa.html