Vilakazi Street

Vilakazi Street is probably the most famous street in the huge Soweto township in Johannesburg

Gauteng Tourist AttractionsThe Vilakazi Street

Just about every tour through Soweto stops at Vilakazi Street. There is reason enough. It is probably the most famous street in the huge Soweto township in Johannesburg.

Where? Vilakazi Street, Soweto, Johannesburg

When? Any time

How much? Free

Overnight? See Soweto accommodation, Johannesburg

Both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu lived here – how many places can claim that two Nobel Prize winners lived in the same street. In fact, Tutu, as he is more fondly known, still lives here with his wife Leah, and when he's in town he is said to stroll the streets.

Mandela's house has become a museum. It is called the Mandela House Museum and is open for public tours during the week. But there is more to Vilakazi Street. A block away from here Hector Peterson was killed by police during the students' uprising of June 16 1976, today celebrated as Youth Day. Now the Hector Peterson Museum and memorial stand on the corner of Moema and Vilakazi Streets.

Dr BW Vilakazi, after whom the street is named, was a poet, novelist and intellectual, who wrote in numerous indigenous languages. He was also the first black man to teach at Wits, the University of the Witwatersrand, even if he had to be employed as a 'language assistant' because of bureaucracy that did not allow black lecturers. Later, armed with a PhD in literature, he helped develop the written form of both isiZulu and siSwati, and helped put together the isiZulu dictionary.

Now, because of Vilakazi street's popularity, it includes a couple of well known restaurants – Nambitha and Sakhumzi - that serve local cuisine to tourists, with prices to match, but it is also home to the only community television station in the city, Soweto TV, broadcast from a classroom at the local primary school.

Popular Attractions in or related to Vilakazi Street

Hector Pieterson Memorial

Where? Soweto
The Hector Pieterson Memorial and museum opened in Soweto in 2002, not far from the spot where 12 year-old Hector was shot on the 16 June 1976 during the Soweto uprising that today is a symbol of resistance to the brutality of the apartheid...

More info and contact details: Hector Pieterson Memorial

Mandela House Museum

Where? Soweto
8115 Vilakazi Street, Orlando West in Soweto is known to many simply as Mandela House. It was where Nelson Mandela lived between 1946 and 1962. The house is a humble abode of four inter-leading rooms that today contain a collection of memorabilia...

More info and contact details: Mandela House Museum

Museum Africa

Where? Newtown
Not only is Museum Africa one of the most beautiful buildings where it lies right next door to the Market Theatre complex in Bree Street, Newtown, but it is also a museum with a difference - people who have visited museums throughout the...

More info and contact details: Museum Africa

Did you know?

Right in the heart of South Africa’s largest, and the world’s most famous, township (so big, it’s practically a city in its own right) Vilakazi Street is where Nelson Mandela spent the first couple of nights upon his release after 27 years of imprisonment, with his former wife, Winnie Mandela. Number 8115 Orlando West was also where he lived between 1946 and 1962.

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