Where once there was a dumping ground, township tourism pioneer Lebo, of the eponymous backpackers, envisaged a park - a quiet, green space where local children could play and visitors could relax with a plate of home-cooked food, fresh from the potjie. Today tourists, Sowetans and intrepid foodies all find their space under the shade of palm trees and a lapa in this cleverly-transformed space.
Lunch is simple, wholesome South African. Every day the central fire is stoked and a set of potjies (South African cast iron pots) are filled with a selection of delicious freshly prepared curries (chicken, beef or vegetarian). Fluffy fresh loaves arrive from a nearby bakery and guests are invited to help themselves to some of the tastiest kotas around. While the flavoursome curries may not be red hot, spicy achar is on hand if you need to fire things up.
This is an informal affair and all the better for it. Diners can be spotted lounging on the grass post-lunch, tables fill up with friends and neighbours stopping by for a chat, the tents of backpacking guests of the hostel can occasionally be found pitched around the park and a small bar stocked with cold beers invites one to linger longer. In fact the atmosphere on a sunny afternoon is often so relaxed that it takes the brief rumbling of a passing Metro train to remind you that you are indeed in the middle of South Africa's biggest township.
Just a five minute drive from famous Vilakazi Street, lunch at Lebo's is a perfect place to glimpse the easy-going and welcoming side to everyday Sowetan life and if you are here for the day there are few better tours than Lebo's Soweto Bike and Tuk Tuk tours.