Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Let's Drink Some Wine In Soweto

13 years into a democratic South Africa there are still many white South Africans who have not ventured into a township. They don't know what they are missing! There is a vibe, a truly South African essence, that is not found in the suburbs. Many tourists have found this to be so and have found much joy at being able to interact with township residents.

Living in Johannesburg for the past 10 years has given me opportunity to visit Soweto on several occassions. Interestingly Soweto is the largest township in South Africa with a population of 1.5 million mainly black residents - 40% of Gauteng's population. It is a vibrant metropolitan area and is known for setting trends in fashion, politics, language, dance and music. Like every other urban area it has its problem areas and yet, from a safety perspective, I often feel safer in Soweto than in Sandton! It is far removed from the images of the 1980's that we saw on the SABC as the residents protested the apartheid regime - it is truly a great place to visit!

Various initiatives have been in place for several years now to entice more South Africans to come into Soweto. One of these is the Soweto Wine Festival which began in 2005. This year the festival has Standard Bank has its headline sponsor and will showcase over 800 wines from 125 wineries.

The festival will be held at the Main Hall, Soweto Campus at the University of Johannesburg on Old Potch Rd, Soweto on 7 & 8 September and is being hailed as the most exciting Soweto-based initiative in years.

To assist those not wishing to travel into Soweto in their own vehicles on the two evenings Jo’burg Tourism is providing branded buses from the Cape Wine Academy offices, Conference Centre, 114 Grayston Drive, Sandown, Sandton

Transport Times:
Friday 7th September – 3:30pm & 6pm & 7pm
Saturday 8th September – 4:30pm & 6pm & 7pm

These busses will be available to return from the festival as well. There will be a special combi that will take back those that need to leave the festival earlier.

This is a great initiative that is helping to make Soweto a preferred destination for Johannesburg tourists and locals alike. I do hope that if you are in the Joburg/Pretoria region you will consider coming along for two wonderful evenings.

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