I’m writing this from Port Elizabeth and pardon the absence of late; things have been incredibly busy and in the best way possible. While in which is a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa I had the pleasure of partaking in an “Instawalk” which is basically a photo walk. The big difference is that all the participants share the images with the world in real time on the popular smartphone application called Instagram.
I wasn’t sure what to expect and was certainly surprised by the huge turnout. I never knew that Johannesburg had so many people that weren’t only passionate about their city but also social media. We took a long walk through and snapped shots of anything and everything that caught our eye along the way. Besides providing an opportunity to meet and mingle with some new friends from South Africa, it also gave me the opportunity to sharpen my photography eye. This was done by seeing how different people perceived the world around them and the photos they saw in it.
The term Soweto is an abbreviation for South Western Townships and is located exactly where the name suggests, it’s on the edge of and to the other side it’s the beginning of the city’s mining belt. It’s also well known for being an area with a particular street called Vilakazi in which not one but two Nobel Peace Prize winners once lived; they were and .
Sadly it’s also known for the which occurred on June 16th, 1976. What happened was the government at the time was trying to enforce Afrikaans rather than English as the official language being taught in schools. There was a peaceful protest in the form of a march from Naledi High School to Orlando Stadium which was interrupted when police began shooting at the crowd of 10,000 strong. Sadly, 23 people died on the first day. That’s the iconic photo of a fellow student carrying while his sister runs beside them above.
This was my second time to Soweto and my first Instawalk. Not only did I enjoy further exploring the area but I really liked meeting new friends on the other side of the world as passionate as myself. Also, strolling the streets with locals gives you a much more authentic experience than any tour or solo mission ever could. When so many like minded individuals get together there is an electricity of sorts that is formed and the feeling is hard to beat. The walk lasted a few hours and just flew by; before I realized it we were back where we began.
Three great Johannesburg Instagrammers to follow are: , and ; I had the pleasure of getting acquainted with all of them. There were plenty of other talented people there and if you’re curious to see photos from this tour and South Africa as a whole, search #MeetSouthAfrica on or simply follow the account .
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