Kliptown is the oldest area of Soweto and is a place of striking contrasts. At its centre is the Walter Sisulu Square, famous as the place where in 1955 the Congress of the People met to present the Freedom Charter, a statement of principles calling for a non-racial, free and democratic South Africa, which forms the basis of South Africa's constitution today. The small Kliptown Museum details the collaborative effort made to produce this ground-breaking document and just next to it is the inviting four-star Soweto Hotel, a great place to stop for coffee, or hang out for jazz on a Sunday. The streets surrounding the square are busy with fruit and vegetable markets, traditional healers and wholesalers
Meanwhile just over the train tracks residents still live in shacks and rundown houses without running water. Despite the evident hardships, hidden amongst Kliptown's unpaved streets are striking murals painted by international artists and a palpably strong sense of community. If you want to take a dive into this other side of Kliptown, we recommend that you only visit with a guide. Kliptown-based TKD Tours leads excellent walking tours of the area focused on connecting visitors with locals who have fascinating stores to share.
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