September isn’t just Heritage Month, it’s Tourism Month too. This year’s theme is “Tourism and jobs – a better future for all” - appropriate, when you think about just how important tourism is to South Africa’s economy.
It’s not just about getting international visitors to our shores. Mzansi has so much to offer for locals to explore too. Gauteng is home to hundreds of diverse and fascinating sites that celebrate our heritage. These are just a few of our favourites:
Sophiatown: The iconic example of forced removals during the Apartheid era, Sophiatown is to this day vibrant, welcoming and exciting. Walking tours provide you a 360 view of life in this location.
Maropeng: The official visitor centre for the Cradle of Humankind and gateway to the World Heritage Site. It offers a great country getaway for the family, offering boutique and separate kiddies’ or student accommodation, restaurants, and most importantly, an extraordinary tour that includes an underground boat ride.
The Hector Pieterson Memorial Museum’s Orlando West precinct includes a multitude of important sites, including the spots where both Hector Pieterson (Vilakazi Street) and Hastings Ndlovu (Khumalo Street) were shot dead by the police; Orlando West/Phefeni Junior Secondary School in Vilakazi Street where the first official class boycotts took place in May 1976; Belle Higher Primary School, whose students joined the May 1976 class boycott; and the Phomolong Clinic where Antoinette Sithole (Hector Pieterson’s sister) and Mbuyisa Makhubu rushed to, carrying Hector Pieterson.
Freedom Park: This breathtaking space in the heart of Tshwane tells the story of South Africa in the voice of the South African people. A national and international icon of humanity and freedom, sharing our unique culture, heritage, history and spirituality.
Cullinan Diamond Mine: The most famous diamond mine in the country, the Cullinan mine still yields some of the world’s finest gems. It’s a great opportunity, not just to explore the mine, and learn about diamond cutting, but to purchase your own piece of this extraordinary heritage.
Liliesleaf Farm: Tucked away in the leafy Suburb of Rivonia, this site pays testimony to the many lives that changed the political landscape of this country and through its educational programmes, attracts younger visitors to face today’s challenges with creative enthusiasm.
Aviation Museum South Africa: Based at Rand Airport in Germiston, the museum houses a fascinating collection of static aircraft, used for aviation awareness programmes and fund raising for the museum. It’s a fascinating visit for aviation enthusiasts.
Kagiso Township: Here you can get a real feel of life in Mogale City: Krugersdorp, where gold was discovered in 1887; Kagiso, where you can enjoy local music and dance and stop for a traditional meal; Munsieville, the childhood home of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; and Azaadville, a largely Indian suburb where Ghandi once worked to help prevent forced removals.