Sophiatown Heritage and Cultural Centre preserves the story of one of the world’s most inhuman activities. I recommend you visit this place to learn about Sophiatown’s forced removal. The center is also one of the many spots that make Johannesburg a great travel destination.
I remember while growing up in Nigeria, we were told about the forceful removal of black South Africans from Sophiatown. Today, it is refreshing to see that the story of this area has been carefully preserved. I will share with you some of these stories.
Sophiatown: Past, Triomf, And Present
Before the destruction of Sophiatown, the area was very famous for its rich multicultural flavor. In the 1940s and early 1950s, Sophiatown was the melting pot of tribes and races. Several notable artists, politicians, and jazz musicians congregated here to have conversations and to use their talent to condemn the racist government of their time. It was a breeding ground for anti-apartheid activists.
After the destruction of most of the properties in Sophiatown, the area was renamed ‘Triomf’ which means ‘Victory’ or ‘Triumph’.
It literally means “we (the white people) now have victory over this area and we have dominated it for our use”.
Trevor Huddleston and Dr. Alfred Xuma
Trevor Huddleston’s and Dr. Alfred Xuma’s houses are two out of three houses that survived the
We won’t move movement
Trevor Huddleston, Ruth First, Nelson Mandela,
Over 2000 fully armed policemen took part in the forceful removals of Black, Coloured, Indian and Chinese people who were living in Sophiatown.
Black people were relocated to a township in Soweto called Meadowlands. The sad relocation inspired the soulful music of Sibongile Kumalo and others. Thandi Klaassen’s even gave a tribute to Sophiatown in her ‘Together As One’ album.
“Sophiatown was indeed the place they all knew. It was where their dreams came true until the white man came to break it down”. –
Several other artists sang beautiful songs about the pain of the forced removal of Black people from Sophiatown.
Freedom At Last
Thankfully, apartheid’s head has been crushed and Sophiatown’s heritage of multi-plurality has been restored. The rich flavors of art have also returned and life in its fullness is now free for all!
Google Map of Sophiatown Heritage and Cultural Centre
The address of the Sophiatown Heritage and Cultural Centre is 71-73, Toby Street, corner Edward Road, Sophiatown, Johannesburg. For more information, you can call the Centre on 011 673 1271 or visit their website on www.sophiatownthemix.com.