Walk my Jozi is an initiative started in 2017 by the JDA (Johannesburg Development Agency) to get people walking in areas that they would normally not visit. All the walks are sponsored by the JDA but run by individuals or tour groups over one weekend and are offered free of charge to the public. This proved so popular last year that the JDA repeated the event this year, over the weekend of the 19th and 20th May.
One of the walks I attended this year was the Orlando with Music Notes walk in Soweto run by His & Hers Jams (check them out on Facebook @HisAndHersJams). We were met at Constitutional Hill by Maud Dimpo Sebola and Tshidiso Sethogwe from where we were transported by local taxi to Orlando.
We had a very informative walk with great music and song along the way and I could go on forever about this walk which took us from Orlando East over railway bridges and along streets to Orlando West where we finished off with a braai (barbeque) in a beautiful community park – Ubuhle Bezwe – which was once a dumping site changed into a park by some of the community members.
However, I’m going to use this as a platform to give you my experience, thoughts and hopes for an area I should visit more than I do.
I have visited Soweto many times, and Orlando a few times, over the past couple of years. I’m always amazed at how clean it is compared to some of the inner city suburbs, including the one I live in. Another refreshing aspect is that there does not seem to be much of an issue when your neighbours add on extra space to their homes – in the form of corrugated rooms – whether it’s to run a business from or for someone to stay in.
The People – always a smile and a friendly ‘Hello’ and willing to share their memories and information on the area with such enthusiasm and pride, the way they will happily welcome you into their homes even though you are a stranger – I love them.
The Children – mostly all of them are outside playing games or participating in a sport activity… in fact, I don’t think that I have ever seen a child in Soweto glued to some tablet or cellphone. These kids are doing exactly what kids should be doing – running around playing, laughing, sharing and being happy.
My hopes for this wonderful place is something that I can’t honestly answer now – now it seems perfect for me but a place is always perfect when you are just a visitor. I would actually like to stay here for a couple of days to experience what it’s really like to live here. This is now on my bucket list in great big letters and once I’ve done that then perhaps I will be able to tell you what their hopes are.
Why not take a tour to some place you have not explored? Become a tourist in your own City.
You can also read and see photographs from the various walks on Facebook @Joziwalks.