For those who don’t mind a bit of walking, Past Experiences run a variety of specialised tours of the Johannesburg inner city and surrounding areas. Visit their website or contact Jo Buitendach to find out more.
The Apartheid Museum, located about 9 km from the conference venue, details some of the more sobering aspects of South Africa’s racialised past. The exhibits have been assembled and organised by a multi-disciplinary team of curators, film-makers, historians and designers. They include provocative film footage, photographs, text panels and artefacts illustrating the events and human stories that are part of the horrific period in our history, known as apartheid.
Situated just across the road from the Apartheid museum, Gold Reef City is an amusement park set in a 19th century Johannesburg gold mining town atmosphere. Apart from the amusement rides and rollercoasters, which are great fun for kids, there are also live shows, a casino and you can go down a real gold mine! You can even see the gold-smelting process in action. Children under 12 used to be given the opportunity to try lift a bar of gold – if they could do so using only two fingers they could keep the bar. (Disclaimer: a bar of gold weighs approximately 13 kg and is worth about US$ 746,944, so start training you kids now).
Take a trip to Soweto. Vilakazi Street is the only street in the world to have housed two Nobel Prize laureates: Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Mandela House is now a museum. This is where Madiba lived from 1946 to 1962, the year he was arrested for treason. The house is a humble abode of four inter-leading rooms that today contain a collection of memorabilia, paintings and photographs of the Mandela family.
Situated a few minutes walk from the conference venue, Lindfield Victorian House Museum takes visitors back to late 19th century Johannesburg opulence. A stark contract to the condition in which most of the population lived.
Melville Koppies is a Nature Reserve and a Johannesburg City Heritage Site. It is the last conserved remnant of Johannesburg’s ridges as they were before the discovery of gold in 1886. Its geology goes back three billion years. Stone tools show that Early Stone Age man camped here as long as 500 000 years ago. There is a Late Stone Age living floor. Within the last 1 000 years Iron Age immigrants arrived, and remains of their kraal walls can be found on the northern slopes. In 1963 an iron-smelting furnace was excavated and can be seen today.