Vilakazi is perhaps the most famous street in Soweto—or all of Johannesburg, for that matter. It’s the only street in the world to have produced two Nobel Prize winners—His Excellency Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu. It’s also where 13-year-old Hector Pieterson was shot dead, sparking the riots on June 16, 1976.
At the corner of Vilakazi and Ngakane streets, you’ll find the Mandela House, which serves as a beautiful testament to Madiba as well as to the greater fight for equal rights in South Africa and around the world. The rest of Vilakazi Street, however, is pretty average—a place where people live and work every day. In its simplicity, it proves that greatness can come from the most ordinary of places. Since it’s still home to so many people, approach the street with respect. Hire a local guide and take care when exploring the surrounding neighborhood of Soweto.
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