Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Trip to Soweto

Soweto has been a place on Joburg Sketchers bucket list for years, but somehow we hadn't got it together to find out exactly how to get there, where to park or walk or sketch - it's a vast sprawling area of many suburbs, full of houses and streets that look very similar to the passing eye as you whizz by on the highway.

But when visiting Swedish sketcher Holger and his wife Susanne, and my friend Jane from Cape Town, said they'd like to go, we decided the time had come to venture forth. As it turned out, it was pretty easy - five of us in my car on a Friday morning, past Johannesburg city centre, onto the N1 Western Bypass, turn right and there in front of us were the iconic Orlando Towers, originally cooling towers for a coal power station, now an adventure destination where you can bungee jump, abseil, zip-line and swing from those heights (um, no thanks very much!)

Wiggling through a maze of very sketchable streets full of children playing, neighbours chatting and general community activity, we found our way to the famous Vilakazi Street, and had immediate, copious offers to help us park, watch/wash our car, sing/dance/guide for us, as well as countless shops, vendors, and restaurants vying for business  - we had to explain that we were just there to sit and draw which caused some puzzlement and then fascination -  I wished we'd brought a stack of blank exercise books so that everyone who stopped to watch could have joined in, and I wish I'd had more time and energy to sketch more of the colourful busyness of the street.

We decided not to partake of the rather touristy-priced lunches on offer and headed back, stopping to sketch the towers on the way out - in blazing midday sun we squeezed into the only little strip of shade we could find with a view, outside Bara Mall. Fast sketching as even the South Africans were expiring from the heat, let alone our Swedish visitors!


Cathy said...

Great sketches!!! What a wonderful day! I'm glad you went!
Now I'm green with envy ;-)

RH Carpenter said...

Very wise decision = no bungee jumping or zip-lining but staying on the ground to document it all in glorious colors :) I would say I'm sorry about the heat but we're in another freeze so I'm a bit envious of a little more warmth right now :)