Walking Tour Of Sophiatown

Walking Tour Of Sophiatown

Sophiatown swing spirit is still alive in Joburg's most notorious neighbourhood. Join a tour and find about its past and present for yourselves

It was Sunday morning in the city and instead of cycling off on 94.7 km's of certain insanity with the rest of Joburg; we decided to do something a little different. We joined Mbali and Past Experiences on a walking tour of Sophiatown. No bicycles required.



Mbali is a Sophiatown guide with a big smile and an even bigger passion for Sophiatown's history, stories and people. As a local of the suburb she lives and breathes the area and has researched its legacy as well as interviewed many of the colourful characters who influenced it.





Sophiatown has a historic reputation as a vibrant and charismatic place, pre Apartheid. It was famous for its mix of people, nightlife and the big names in music, literature and politics that graced its streets. A culture of freedom and expression lived there like nowhere else in town. It was fascinating to hear about the passed on accounts of life there when the place was at its prime and about the heartache of its community when it fell. It was one of the first sites of forced removals under Apartheid legislation and was claimed as "Triomf"- whites only zone after. Today it has been renamed Sophiatown and its community is finding its new place in the South African landscape but it's doing it with hope and drive.





The tour starts and ends at the Trevor Huddleston Memorial Centre and we walked to important sites and houses which are significant to its history. Because the Apartheid government bulldozers destroyed almost every morsel of the original Sophiatown, there aren't many sites left but the neighbourhood still holds its stories. The Sophiatown Cultural and Heritage Centre was the highlight of the tour and houses museum rooms filled with different aspects of Sof'town's history: from letters to photographs, interviews and memorabilia.





Sophiatown's soul lives on.





Price: R165 per adult and R95 per child 12 or under, including refreshments.
Keep an eye out on JHBlive's events page or go to to find out when the next tour is scheduled for.
Email Past Experiences on or phone 011 678 3905 to book.





Trevor Huddleston CR Memorial Centre details:

Corner of Good and Herman Streets, Sophiatown

Tel : + 27 (0)11 673 1271

Email :  




by Kelly Kidson
We joined Mbali and Past Experiences on a walking tour that proved Sophiatown’s soul lives on.


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