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Story of Gold

Alexandra Township

Eating vetkoek in Alexandra township
Eating vetkoek in Alexandra Township.
Here we see a vibrant and exciting community. After eating "vet-koek" on the street, we pass the ZCC church explaining it’s doctrine and illustrating the differences as well as the similarities of our cultures. We visit "Beirut", the site of massive unrest in the 80’s and 90’s, where we explain the background to and the detail of the violence which swept the townships at this time. We also visit Presidential Flats, Mrs Mbeki’s birthplace, the Zulu men’s Hostel "Khayalethu", where we see examples of job creation programmes. The history of the Hostels and their role in Apartheid is explained in detail.

We explain how the social structure of the "yard system" and the "gangs" had such an effect on events leading up to change in 1994. We discuss the 1.3 billion rands that has been spent, as a Presidential initiative, on reconstruction and development of Alexandra.

We see Nelson Mandela’s first home in Gauteng, a Traditional Healer, the home of one of the first Gang members of the 40’s, the Community Centre, traditional food preparation of "smiley’s" and "skop", one of the prison gang members, the Athletes' Village from African Games, and River Park, the first houses of the "displaced people."

We visit the building used by the "1916 Health Committee", St Hubert’s Catholic Church: Holy Cross Convent and the oldest Beer Hall in the township. The "Chinaman", and "The Rocks of Alex" are visited (if we are lucky) and their stories told. We capture the spirit of Alexandra and the struggle of the man on the street to earn a living wage. Throughout the drive through Alexandra we are accompanied by Mphane, a local resident.

Depending upon the interest of clients we also visit an initiative run by Investec Bank and partnered by NOAH, where 395 HIV/Aids orphans are cared for on a daily basis. We can also visit Ba-Amogaleng a pre-school facility where 48 2-6 year olds are cared for by members of the community.

Guests participate in a short ceremony whereby we demonstrate how everyone can contribute towards improving society. The history of the places seen and the township are explained and shown in an interesting and interactive manner, providing an understanding of the diverse cultures of the country.

Johannesburg

We drive through the suburbs, to provide a feel of suburban living, travelling past Sandton City and the financial hub of Africa. We drive through the Parktown area telling the stories of the early growth of Johannesburg and of the "Randlords" and pointing out some of their magnificent residences: Northwards, The View, Villa Arcadia, and others as well as Loch avenue where members of Milner's Kindergarden lived.

The original Beacon at Randjeslaagte marking Johannesburg's Northern most point is visited. Down town Johannesburg is then driven through showing all of the old part of town and explaining the changes that have taken place during the years. Old buildings and examples of different era’s architecture and life styles are pointed out. We see examples of Herbert Baker architecture.

We see the old mining houses, the Magistrates Court, the Gauteng Legislature, the Library, the Old Telephone Exchange, the Rissik street Post Office, The Corner House, the Supreme Court, the old stock exchanges, "trading between the chains" in Rissik street. Depending upon duration of the tour we include a drive through Melville, visiting a coffee bar and enjoying the atmosphere.

The Rand Club is visited and it’s role in the early years explained. The Lionel Phillips Memorial is shown and stories of the Gold Rush years told. We discuss the early years on the gold mines, as well as the 1922 Miners strike and revolt. The site of the shooting of Labauschagne during the Miners Revolt is visited.

We visit the Traditional Healers Market and discuss the role Traditional Healers have in modern South Africa. We drive through the older areas of Johannesburg, showing St John's College, Jeppe High School, the first farm in the area, Nelson Mandela’s home, Ghandi house and his recently erected memorial in Fordsburg. George Harrison Park and the site of the first gold strike are shown and the story told. The Foster Gang and the site of their final stand are shown and the story of that event told and how it linked to the death of legendary General de la Rey. The site of General de la Rey’s memorial is visited, and the story of his death and the role of Seer Van Rensberg explained. The old Railway station and the story of the Dynamite explosion is shown and told.

We drive through downtown Johannesburg, showing the old and the new and outline the improvements which are taking place to attract people back into the centre of the City and explain about the re-vitalisation of the city centre.

During this tour anecdotes are told and a vivid picture of the early years of Johannesburg are painted.

Downtown Johannesburg

Downtown Johannesburg, the home of the old mining Houses, the first Stock Exchange, Mandela and Ghandi’s offices and the Rand Club is visited while anecdotes are told and a vivid picture of the early years of Johannesburg are painted.

The Rand Club

The Rand Club, Cecil John Rhodes’ club, originated at the centre of what became the greatest gold field the world has ever seen, filled with a cosmopolitan and colourful population, people of all nationalities, all drawn to the Transvaal by the glamour of gold and the dreams of fortune. It has stood the test of time, and is still an upmarket club in downtown Johannesburg today. Some of the rooms in the Rand Club are visited and the significance of the club is discussed.

The Apartheid Museum

During this tour Robin Binckes outlines his own background, having grown up in the Apartheid era. The full tour of the Museum is conducted by Robin with explanations of the exhibits, the thinking of the people at the time as well as some of the history behind Apartheid.

Visitors share in some of the fears and concerns which contributed to the growth and entrenchment of apartheid, through the eyes and experience of someone who benefited from the apartheid era. Robin, who was in the Navy at the time of Sharpville and who became a Peace Monitor in the townships in the 90’s in the build up to the elections recounts his own experiences and subsequent transformation.

The miracle of April 27th, 1994 is explained in detail and the role of people like Nelson Mandela, F.W de Klerk, Bishop Tutu is discussed. The Truth and Reconciliation Hearings and process are also discussed.

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