Monday, March 14, 2011

Siyaya Rae Vaya

Here we are again, breaking down preconceived notions about our great city Johannesburg! As I am sure you have heard from at least one person, the pubic transport is in a state... and not a good one. Too an extent this is true, especially if you have no idea how the buses or taxi's work, but this is not too difficult to overcome... But, with the introduction of the Rae Vaya BRT into the city, the likes of public transport in Joburg needs to be viewed in a new light!

View of FNB Stadium from the Rae Vaya to Thokoza Park

So last Thursday, a few of us went to Soweto to visit Regina Mundi, but unlike most 'tourists', we went through using the BRT, and there is no other way to do it. It forces you to experience Soweto, to be on the bus with the people, walk the streets to get to you destination, and out destination is one of the more moving places to visit in the South West Township... Regina Mundi.

Known as the struggle church, it is one of those places that have remained virtually unchanged since it was built in the 60's, and still proudly displays its scars that remain from its role in the fight against Apartheid. This is one of
the venues that played a role in the 1976 protests that took the lives of several youths, including Hector Pieterson. The church was one of the places that the children took shelter when the Apartheid Government Police opened fire on the unarmed children. The police shot on the church, eventually breaking through the doors and opening fire inside. These bullet holes are visible to this day. It is also a well known venue where political meetings took place, and has been visited by many people involved with the struggle, including Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Also at the church one can see a fantastic photographic exhibition documenting some of the better known imagery from the Apartheid era. There is also a space for you to leave your mark, on the large graffetti wall that displays the writing of literary thousands from around the world. Out side are some really sweet ladies trying to make a living by selling some pretty cool arts and crafts, and some awesome t-shirts. Its really one of those places that should be visited and supported.

Once our visit was complete, we hoped back on to the bus to the heart of the city. A little hungry and thirsty, and the fact that it was our friend's, Linda, birthday, Tania suggested that we finally go to the Marshall Inn, on Marshall Street. So we hopped off at the West Gate station and made our way down. And what a hidden gem! Its one of those strange places that you would not expect in the city. As you go in, it is decorated in this strange Tuscan style, with paintings of flowers and windows on the wall. Quaint  is a good way to describe it. But, one exploring around a little more, we were surprised to discover this awesome pub in the back! And now I was sold... I could have a beer. On speaking with the owners, it came out that they are actually the family that runs the large restaurant during Lesito Land... and now we all know that the Portuguese food there is pretty awesome, so I had to have some... and it was good! But the beer was better. Unfortunately, like most places in city, especially round the mining district, it closes pretty early, around 6pm, and is not open on the weekends. So, if you get the chance during the week, make a break for this place... it is worth a look.

Alas, at this point, Linda had to leave, but we stayed on for an extra drink or two, you know how these things go. Once we left though, we went for our usual jaunt through the Diagonal Street area. It was here that a entire gaggle of old church going ladies caught our fancy, so articulate in the way they were speaking, so casual and fun, they just brought life to the city that makes Joburg so special. What a lovely bunch of old birds, so happy walking down the street to get to the Rae Vaya to take them home, all the way back to Soweto! They told us about there day spent at the church, and we told them about ours, spent at a different church... there was a beautiful symmetry in it all...

All in all, it was another beautiful day spent in the city of gold... New things were discovered, and awesome people met. And from our experience using the public transport of the city, there is no excuse for not heading back into the CBD and using the city the way it was intended!!

Ladies from the South African United Apostolic Church of Christ

No comments:

Post a Comment