To mark the end of the Heritage Month celebrations Independent Media took some of its subscribers and staff on a tour of Soweto where they visited popular historic sites.

The tour began at the FNB stadium and proceeded to Diepkloof extension which houses most of the who’s who in this iconic township.

The tourists were also shown the Hector Pieterson Memorial, President Nelson Mandela’s house, the Regina Mundi Church, and the Elias Motsoaledi formal settlement on Saturday.

The event was organised by the Independent Media Marketing department for subscribers and staff members.

A highlight of the tour was the visit to Elias Motsoaledi informal settlement.

This settlement is one of the earliest informal settlements, dating back to 1993.

The site still houses more than 25 shack dwellers who live without basic services such as electricity, running water and schools.

Here the tourists met Vuyokazi Gwani, 30, who shared her plight.

“In this place we don’t have hope for a better life any more … for the past 20 years we are always being promised (by politicians) decent houses and services, but as you can see this place is dirty and undeveloped.

“We used to survive on tips from tourists like you who come and take pictures of us and then give us money, but since the coronavirus we have been left with no source of income,” said the mother of two toddlers.

Thandeka Mafuya said the tour was very informative and enjoyable and said the tour guides did an amazing job. “We saw the other side of Soweto, one we didn’t know. This shows that reading a newspaper about Soweto is not the same as seeing the place face to face.

“The tour was great and I learnt a lot of things I did not know, especially at the Hector Pieterson museum,” said Mafuya. It was her first visit to Soweto, she said.

Nombulelo Tanli, the organiser of the event, said: “On behalf of Independent Media I would like to thank MoAfrika Tours for such an amazing experience. As a person who always visits Soweto, I never thought Vilakazi Street had so much hype. Soweto on its own carries so many historical memories. It’s sad that the Hector Pieterson museum was closed but being around the place where it all happened and how the facility represents 1976 was one of the things that touched me.

“Thank you to the subscribers for honouring our invitation as we celebrated Heritage Month together.”

The half-day ended with a lunch at Chaf Pozi at Soweto Towers where the guests were served South African cuisine.