Richard Doron Johnson

December 5, 2006

Soweta is Still Strong!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rjjazz @ 7:24 am

Today was are off day from work so it was filled with sight seeing and a historical over view of Soweta given by are own Ismail Mohamed. Mohamed has been with us this whole tour helping us get from location to location. This is one of the most knowledgeable men I have ever meet about everything. For instance he could tell you every detail about South Africa from top to bottom. This is very rare in Embassy affairs officers. I know I have meet plenty of them. He can also tell you about world history, American history, etc. I even mentioned to him that I was looking for this running professor in Cape Town and before I could finish my phrase he said “yes your looking for world renown author and runner Timothy Noakes. He created a 500 page book called “The lore of running.” He then went on and on about running information and I just looked at the man like he was from Mars. The whole point of stating all this is to say he knows a whole lot of history.
The day got under way at 9 30am with us going to the drum shop because at the last show the sound man broke the drummers leg on his bass drum trying to set it up for him. Fortunately we were in Jo Burg when this happened and they have the biggest music store on the continent. This music store was like a mad house with everyone trying to help you when they find out that you’re from America. Prior to that know one would help us until they heard us speak. Then once they hear you’re from America everyone wants to help and they all give you different price quotes separately on the side trying to beat out their coworker. Once they all find this out they start arguing in the store and then you never get any help. After leaving here we had to go to another drum store to actually get the part Che needed because the Continents biggest music store “Tom Tom” did not have this basic part. Eventually we found what we needed and got on our way to do our Soweta tour.
Upon arriving in Soweta our first stop was the Hector Pieterson museum. This museum was built to remember June 16th 1976. On this day police opened fire on a peaceful peace demonstration held by kids between the ages of 10 and 20 years old. If you don’t know about Sowetas history and what world-renowned effect this rally had on everyone you need to check it out because it is almost unbelievable but it is. After looking and hearing about the problems that the Afrikaans caused I found myself with other band members getting mad at why these same situations continue to happen to people of color all around the world. It is the same song just a different key according to your ethnic background.
Here is a photo from the outside:null

Next we went inside to the museum and to read, watched videos, and look at real bullets, guns, trash can tops used as shields, and posters that were used during that day on June 16th 1976. It was very depressing after about 45 minutes of going through the museum but it gave me a great understanding of this countries turmoil and how they kept their heads up.
Our next stop was Nelsons Mandela’s first home. Here is where the government came and took him away for 27years when he was a young man. This home still has his original everything in it when he left their that day. I was told he still comes back to visit it too to make sure the town still knows he cares. Here is a photo from the house
The outside:

The bathroom:
Next we drove by Mama Jackie’s house to see where all the people she has ripped off in the United States gave their millions of dollars. She is currently on trial and Oprah is coming back in a few weeks to make a statement and get her money back if possible.

Next we drove by the Credo Mutwas Village. As you enter the village you see this tower which is about 85 feet high that over looks the whole city of Soweta. Here is a photo of me over looking the city!

The Credo Mutwas Village is where the natural healers used to live and still train the up and coming young healers. This is wild place to be and visit. If you ever get a chance to come here you have to see this. Here are a few photos of some of the things we saw. Our lst stop for the day was the local church. This church is located in the middle of the city. While at the church they had a local baptism going on. We started to not enter because of this but the locals wanted us to come in and observe what was going on. The service was exactly like most Black, Baptist, Methodist, and Episcopalian services I have been to in the United States. The architecture was the same, the floors, the statues, and the smell. Here is a photo from the experience.

This is me at the entrance of the church next to the piano

Today’s tour was totally a learning experience for me about Soweta and South Africa. I can now see for myself the similarities between what I have been learned about the 1960’s in the States and the late 1980’s and early 1990’s here in south Africa. It is a shame what has happened in both countries past, but we must not forget so that our children can look forward to a great future without repeating themselves!



  1. Yo, I am really enjoying reading about the trip! Glad to hear everyone is loving afar… what a great opportunity. Keep me posted.

    Comment by Marcus Dinero — December 5, 2006 @ 4:32 pm

  2. Hey Richard.

    I’m going to share your blog with some of the folks we’d been communicating with before the journey began. Surely your expereinces are not to be missed, and are sure to spark interest.

    big ups


    Comment by Russell — December 6, 2006 @ 1:25 am

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