Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries in Soweto

Nowhere have boundaries seemed more present, at least in our limited travels through the world, than in the town of Soweto, South Africa. As we rode in a van with our guide on a Sunday afternoon in Soweto searching for the Nelson Mandela National Museum (better known as the Mandela House), we couldn’t help but notice that almost all dwellings on the side streets had high fences or walls — for protection and privacy, we presume.

We also saw an area of tin roof homes bounded by green toilets and fences where laundry dried in the South African sun. But we knew our boundaries and stayed in the van while the driver made a U-turn.

Huge area of tin roof dwellings bounded by toilets on one side and fences on another: Soweto, South Africa.

Huge area of tin roof dwellings bounded by toilets on one side and fences on another: Soweto, South Africa.

For more entries in this photo challenge — Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries — click here.

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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11 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries in Soweto

  1. Thanks for sharing with us. We have just returned from South Africa and partially live there. Even though security remains a huge issue and fences, barb wire and electrical fencing can be found everywhere, we notice that everyone wants to move forward. In Soweto, we took a bike ride with Lebo, a local man who takes travelers through his hometown Soweto. Surely there are dangerous areas to avoid, especially on your own, but getting behind the fence, into the people’s home and talking to local people has unraveled a totally new world for us, creating more understanding of challenges and achievements. Hopefully one day soon these boundaries will vanish, but with a corrupt political system it seems far from now. Marcella

    • If only politics could be on the side, then travel would be glorious. But because we have to be careful of where we go and what we say, it becomes a bit sticky at times. Hopefully, all your travels are just the way you want them to be. We’ve had good luck so far, and hope to continue. More to come on Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand where we’ve just traveled and seen marvelous sites.

  2. gretalamfel says:

    Nice, I live in South Africa!

  3. Most houses in all areas of South Africa have high walls and protective fences. Even with 8ft walls and electric fencing plus burglar alarms with armed response, we were still burgled four times and had two cars stolen. Security is really big business there. As for the shanty towns, or squatter camps as they are called, it seems that a fast as the government provides these poor people with subsidised housing, there’s a continuous influx from the rural areas to take their place. It’s an ongoing battle. Of course there are many black people now living in the affluent areas, and there are also white squatter camps which you probably didn’t see.

    • Thanks for this wealth of information. Wish I had known some of it prior to posting. Squatter camps is a new term. Our guide may have told us some of this but I was way back in the back of the van trying to take pictures out of the little oval window. Not great visibility, as you can imagine. I was afraid that security was a huge problem, but it may not be resolved any time soon. Thanks for taking a look.

  4. cocoaupnorth says:

    Welcome to Johannesburg or SA, where the gap is tangible.

  5. tappjeanne says:

    These photos make me sad and feeling blessed; sadness for those who live in a circumstance with so many physical boundaries and blessed for living in a land that’s free and in a slice of the world that feels like paradise today. Many thanks for sharing, Rusha

    • We agree, the photos are sad, especially the last one of living conditions we’ve only seen in the movies. Travel brings much for us to see and “digest,” if only for just a little while — but the memories last forever.

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