Open Africa
Open Africa

Alex Tourism and Heritage Route


Features

   Accommodation

Below is a list of accommodation establishments along this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.

Bview Guesthouse
The owner started this guesthouse in 2007 after working at the airport for 10 years. She was mosly involved with the VIP...

Maloke B&B and Restaurant
This B&B offers four fully furnished rooms with a toilet and shower in each room. There is also television with DSTV...

   Activities

Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Booking and enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Diphetogo - Tour Operator
Diphetogo is a tour operator located in the Alexandra Township, north of Gauteng.  Activities and attractions:...

   Arts & Crafts

Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Tsa Setso Designs
Masodi describes her business in her own words: “I started this business 10 years ago. I specialize in making tr...

Nabosiphiwe Craft & Beading
The business consists of 12 members who work on craft, arts and beadwork. During the World Summit on Sustainable Develop...

   Food & Drink

Below is a list of restaurants and other food and beverage outlets on this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.

Alcari Pub and Restaurant
Alcari Pub and Restaurant is situated along a very busy road in Roosevelt. Its main attraction is its strategic position...

   Services

Below is a list of services on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Ditswapotleng Business Enterprise
Ditswapotleng offes a wide variety of services to their clients. They hire out sound and video equipment, as well as com...

Martha's Catering
Martha's Catering is famous for their breakfasts. They serve both English and Township breakfasts. Lunches range from ma...

Khavho Travel and Tourism Services
Khavho Travel and Tourism Services is a tour operator that provides a guiding service to tourists and visitors to the ar...

 

Overview
History
Map
Reviews
Enquire Now
Tell a Friend

Alex Tourism and Heritage Route highlights attractions found in one of South Africa's most well-known and historic townships. The route includes some of the best taverns and shebeens, arts and crafts, entertainment and street vendors selling their goods, including the famous 'chicken dust', chicken braaied (barbequed) and sold on street corners.

Alex Tourism and Heritage Route is situated north of Johannesburg in Alexandra Township, famous for being the home of many well-known South African figures, including late State President, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, former first lady Zanele Mbeki and musicians such as Hugh Masekela, Zakes Nkosi, Simon Mahlathini Nkabinde, Caiphus Semenya and The Dark City Sisters.

Reasons to visit:

The best way to experience Alex Township is through a guided tour. Guides can escort visitors to a variety of attractions including:

  • The Mandela Yard Precinct, a narrow alleyway between tightly packed houses, which leads to the room where late president Nelson Mandela once lived in the 1940's when he was a young lawyer;
  • The Roman Catholic Church Precinct is set amongst a lively district filled with shops and beer taverns where the serene St Hubert's Church building contrasts with the surrounding environment;
  • Kings Precinct with its 1950's style cinema and a host of other bars and clubs;
  • Nobuhle hostel, a giant, haunting hostel designed by the apartheid authorities to house migrant workers;
  • The cemetery precinct where political activists such as Moses Kotane, Thoko Mngoma and Vincent Tshabalala are buried; and
  • River Park, a new development that includes the Alexandra Renewal Project aimed at giving Alexandra Township a facelift.

The Township of Alexandra was proclaimed in 1905 and was originally intended as a white residential area. From 1912 onwards, 2 500 stands, each approximately 1 000m² were offered for sale to black South Africans. Alexandra soon became popular as it was one of the few areas where black South Africans could acquire property rights away from rural areas.

Before long Alexandra became known as 'Dark City' because of the absence of electricity and street lighting. The first local authority, The Alexandra Health Committee, was set up in 1916 with the aim of improving the living conditions of the local population, but it was ineffectual due to a lack of adequate funds. The Johannesburg City Council refused to take responsibility for Alex because it was outside city boundaries. Alexandra became known as 'nobody’s child'.

The Bus Fare Boycott of the mid-1950's:

Between 1955 and 1957, bus fares were increased in Alexandra, as they were elsewhere. In response to the fare increase, Alexandra residents initiated a three-month long bus boycott. Hundreds of commuters walked some 30km every day to and from Johannesburg, chanting slogans such as 'asinamali' (we have no money) and 'azikwelwa' (we will not ride). This was one of the few ways in which the community could voice their grievances against the bus companies and the government of the day.

In 1958, in line with government policy, Alexandra was taken over by the central government and placed under the West Rand Administration Board (WRAB) which decided to transform Alexandra into a hostel township. Large-scale removals from Alexandra to various areas, particularly Diepkloof and Diepmeadow in Soweto, soon followed. By 1973, the population of Alexandra had decreased to 40 000 from a peak of around 75 000 in the mid-1940's.

Concerted protests from residents forced the government to reverse its settlement plan and a new plan to totally redevelop Alexandra as a so-called 'Model-Township' was proposed, but never implemented. Housing and infrastructure was scheduled for improvement and industries developed around Alexandra to provide employment. Residents opposed this plan, suspecting that rental and service increases would inevitably follow.

Political conflict erupted in 1984 in various townships in present-day Gauteng, following uprisings in the Vaal Triangle. In April 1986, tensions came to a head in Alexandra when vigilantes attacked activists, resulting in the 'Six-Day War'. Alexandra residents organised themselves into democratically elected street and block committees and set up alternative structures to take over the running of the Township. A large security force contingent was moved into Alexandra in June 1986, following the declaration of a State of Emergency, and civic activists were detained. Again the former government proposed an upgrading project to win public support but this too was never implemented. 

After 1994 the new government launched some redevelopment projects to provide additional housing and to address infrastructural weaknesses that Alexandra had inherited. The Alexandra Renewal Project is one such initiative, estimated to cost R1.3 billion over a 7 year period. The Alexandra Renewal Project is a joint initiative that involves many stakeholders, including national, provincial and local government, NGO's, the Alexandra community, the private sector and community based organisations. The project is also fully supported by the Gauteng Tourism Authority, which is engaged in several projects in Alexandra. 

For more information about this route, fill out the form below.

Please enter a valid email address.
Please enter a valid mobile number.
This field is required.

To share this with a friend, please fill out the form below.

Please enter a valid email address.
Please enter a valid mobile number.
Please enter a valid email address.
Please enter a valid mobile number.
This field is required.

 

Search

Open Africa Routes

A route is a cluster of travel attractions, accommodation, tour operators, local artisans, guides and restaurants. It brings people together from all levels of community to promote travel to their area. You select what interests you on a route and create your own itinerary.

South Africa - Gauteng

South Africa - Gauteng

Alex Tourism and Heritage Route features some of the best taverns and shebeens, arts and crafts, entertainment and street vendors in one of one of South Africa’s most well-known and historic townships.

Enquire Now

Key Contacts

Name:
Rachel Phasha

Telephone: Click here
Mobile: Click here

Name:
Jomo Mathere

Mobile: Click here

Tags

culture shebeens tours township gauteng johannesburg alexandra-township

 

Submit a Review Send to a Friend