Vilakazi Street in Orlando West is classed as one of the most famous streets of the world because two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates lived there. The street was named after Dr B.W. Vilakazi, who was the first black man to teach at Wits University.
The street has become very popular with tourists from other countries, including the local population, especially after the death of Mr Nelson Mandela.
The revitalisation of this street, together with the support of the local residents, has been a great boon for Soweto and is a place where locals and tourists can enjoy the space together in an interactive way.
The Two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
- Nelson Mandela, whose house has been turned into a museum. In front of his house is a statue of two bulls that represents the two leaders who brought about freedom from apartheid.
- Bishop Desmond Tutu, who still maintains his house here.
What Vilakazi Street Has To Offer
Different media is used to relate the local history:
- A sign language sculpture at the beginning of the street.
- Uncle Tom’s Hall, located just behind the Hector Pieterson Monument, with video and photographic displays of old Soweto and modern Soweto. The photographs were taken by Sakile Mthabela, who also lives in the street.
- Bollards and boards explaining the history of Soweto.
Vilakazi Street has been made more attractive to the visitor with the following recent innovations:
- Landscaped pavements
- New street lighting
- Public art
- The re-tarring of roads
- Street furniture like multi coloured dustbins, benches, bollards
- Trees and vegetation
- Vilakazi Street Oral Exhibition was officially opened at Uncle Tom’s Hall with a red ribbon affair on 2 April 2011. It consists of videos and photos depicting day to day life in Soweto, past and present.
- Restaurants where people eat out on the lawn and are entertained by traditional dancers or where one can savour a unique Sowetan buffet.
- Guest Houses.
- Local arts & crafts.
- Traditional dancers .
- Commemorative art works.
- The sign language monument consisting of 8 massive hands in the shape of various sign language positions.
- Wire frame art work of the children who protested on 16 June 1976.
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