Katja Lachmann


Letters |augustas|

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Johannesburg - the last day


I am just sitting on FREE internet in the hostel I am staying. It is called Gemini Backpackers and it has got quite a nice atmosphere. We - Augustas and me - took a double room that costs us 160 Rand in total. Tomorrow I will leave to Komatiepoort and Augustas will leave to Cape Town.

The last two days were fantastic. After the great day in Klerksdorp staying with an artist family, getting to know many historical backgrounds and views to the current political situation in South Africa we went to Krugersdorp. It was a bit difficult for our host to meet us just because she was extremely busy with organising a business team race. It is actually the biggest one existing with about 10.000 teams participating a running and walking race through the city of Johannesburg. But anyway, we met in the trainstation at Krugersdorp, went to her home and learned about another persons history.

Margo, our host, has done a lot in her life, traveled, has seen many parts of the world and just tries to live her life to the limit. She does not like to limit her life just because of the dangerous situation Johannesburg means to be at the moment. She told us many things, bad and good things, but always reminded that we should not think negative about South Africa even that it has got a lot of crime. Thus, after a great evening, talking, having great food, we went in the morning together to Soweto. Margo was working 8 years in Soweto doing some kind of Marketing. It was about making Sowetos inhabitants know which washing powder is really good, which toothpaste is best...etc.

Thus we went to Soweto. Driving around, getting from time to time out of the car, talking to locals - what mostly did just Margo as she talks Zulu, a language that is widely spoken in this region -, eating great food that I cannot remember what it has been called, but we bought it in a small local shop. Later on we got lost in Soweto as there are hardly any road signs. But Margo is great, she found the way out and belief me, we have not been worried about anything. Unfortunately, we did not have that much time to go by foot around the place and to visit old friends of her. Actually, to understand the situation, we have been three white persons. Margo is a blond lady and she is just fantastic. I have hardly expected to meet such an open-minded person like her that has got such a good sense for life. And belief me, the less I expected Margo to be as she is the less people from Soweto expected her to speak Zulu. They were quite amazed about her.

Thus what is Soweto about? I am quite sure that many of you have heard already of Soweto, maybe even have seen photos. It is of course poor, but you can see how money starts getting into the township - or better saying: city. There is a quite new building and kind of monument about the famous young boy (Hector Petersen) being shut during a demonstration in 1976. You can read details about it here: http://africanhistory.about.com/library/weekly/aa060801a.htm

That is it for today. I will start tomorrow at around 7 a.m. to Komatiepoort and on August 3rd I will leave to Maputo.

Whenever you want to give me a notice of you, a message or a call - what would make me more than happy - just dial my South African mobile number: +27-(0)72-8750592