Our flight touched back down in Johannesburg, as we headed for our next location, Lebo Backpackers Lodge, a quaint little lodge positioned in the largest township in Africa, Sweto. The township has come a long way since the early days of riots and clashes with the police that left many dead. In 19xx a demonstration that started to protest the forced teaching of Afrikan to students ended up with 60 children dead and before it was done over 800 people killed by police, some as young as 13 years of age.
After dropping our bags and a quick lunch, where chickens pecked around us and Nicole freaked out anytime a hen got too close, we all jumped on bikes and headed out for a four hour bike tour of Soweto. Some of the kids had not ridden bike since they were little kids so we had to retrain some of our bikers.
As we made our way through the township the poverty was endemic. Kids came out of their house shrieking in excitement and holding their hands out to give us a high five. The old men sat around gambling away the little money that was available. We stopped several times, the first time to taste a bit of the local brew and snack on meat for a cows head. We continued with local delicacies like grilled chicken’s feet. I peddled up to Nicole and realized she was overwhelmed with the poverty and the desperation.
Towards the end of the tour we passed Nelson Manela’s and Desmond Tutu’s old homes. Both have now been turned into shrines. We finished out the tour with a race between some of the kids and our guide and smiles on everybody’s face.
As the sun went and people filled up on local fare, we all gathered around the fire pit and the drumming and dancing began. Everybody joined in on the activities. It was a magic night filled with laughter, dancing and local lore. Soweto Backpackers was a hit.