Vilakazi Street is the Soweto street of the greats, named after Dr Benedict Wallet Vilakazi, a distinguished writer and educator who wrote the first poetry book published in Zulu.
The homes of two Nobel Peace Prize laureates – South Africa’s first democratically elected president, the late Nelson Mandela, and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu – are found on Vilakazi Street. This is the only street in the world that can boast having had two Nobel Laureates as residents.
Mandela’s house was converted into a museum and is now called the Mandela House Museum. It’s open to public tours. Not far from here, on the corner of Moema and Vilakazi streets, is the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum that was established to commemorate the Soweto Uprising of 1976.
This memorial was erected in the early 1990s, not far from where Pieterson was shot, in remembrance of those who died or were injured on 16 June 1976, now celebrated as Youth Day, a public holiday. Later, in 2002, the Hector Pieterson Museum opened next to the memorial.
Today Vilakazi Street is a popular precinct for local and international visitors. Restaurants such as Sakhumzi, Nambitha and Vuyos, among others, offer a tasty variety of food and drinks. Vilakazi Street is also home to interactive public artworks and a variety of curio stalls.