Soweto began as a shanty town in the 1930s and became the largest black city in South Africa, but until 1976 its population could have status only as temporary residents, serving as a workforce for Johannesburg.
Soweto has also been a hotbed of many political campaigns that took place in the country, the most memorable of which was the 1976 student uprising in which several students were shot at, and others killed.
The first student to fall –Hector Peterson can be remembered as a symbol of that struggle at the Hector Peterson Memorial which was set up not too far from where he was shot.
Following the end of apartheid in 1994, the municipal services of Soweto were administered by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Board, on which the people of Soweto have elected representatives.
The township has also produced the highest number of professional soccer teams in the country. Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows all emerged from the township, and remain among the biggest soccer teams in the Premier Soccer League.
Soweto is the most populous black urban residential area in the country. Some call it a city within a city due to its proximity to Johannesburg. It is also the most metropolitan township in the country - setting trends in politics, fashion, music, dance and language.
SOWETO is getting a facelift, which will not only make it a greater tourist attraction, but will also make the city self-sustaining. With the recent opening of Maponya Mall, residents of the famous township will no longer have to spend money on transport to go to far away malls for their shopping.
Soweto will also become a tourist destination, with several B&B’s and restaurants already up and running, the residents of Soweto have found a way to turn a tumultuous history into an income generating tourist attraction.