First stop, the Apartheid Museum, which opened less than a year ago next to the Gold Reef City Casino complex just off the M1 freeway. Upon admission visitors are randomly assigned a racial classification and must enter the raw concrete and steel building through one of two doors: white or non-white.
The sense of alienation continues inside. A short film sketches the history of South Africa up to the birth of apartheid in 1948 and then the museum shows through photos, text, video and posters the various forms of racial segregation and repression experienced by non-whites. Blacks and whites had separate museums, galleries, sports facilities, schools.
Try any one of the cluster of eateries in Old Melville, but especially Chaplin?s at 85 4th Avenue (Tel. 27 (0) 11 482 4657) for some unforgettable prawn curry. South Africans love meat and red wine, and you can consume both in large quantities at The Butcher Shop & Grill in central Sandton Square (Tel. 27 (0) 11 784 8676).
BEST LIVE MUSIC
Johannesburg?s music scene is one of the liveliest in all of Africa. Head to Kippie?s Jazz International on Bree Street, Newtown (Tel. 27 (0) 11 833 3316). Or, if you want to move and shake with the in-crowd, go to the trendy Bassline at 7th Street, Melville (Tel. 27 (0) 11 482 6915).
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The turning point on the road to a united South Africa was the June 16, 1976 student protest in Soweto, the large township outside Johannesburg in which blacks and "coloreds" as people of mixed race are known were forced to live. This momentous event is commemorated at Soweto's Hector Pieterson Museum, named for the 13-year-old boy who was the first to be killed by police when they opened fire on students, many of whom were not yet teenagers. Smaller but no less poignant than the Apartheid Museum, the Hector Pieterson Museum includes a memorial to Pieterson himself as well as a row of trees planted along the line of fire the police took 26 years ago.
Soweto itself is an energetic confusion of cardboard and tin shanties, modest brick houses that would not look out of place in a middle-class American or European suburb, and more palatial homes belonging to South Africa's new black Úlite. Still, compared to Johannesburg's opulent northern suburbs centered on Sandton the city's new commercial heart and all of the city most delegates are likely to see Soweto is poor, rowdy and sometimes dangerous, especially after dark.
But don't let that put you off. Many locals offer Soweto tours on which you can visit Nelson Mandela's house, where he lived until his arrest in 1962, and his former wife Winnie's more luxurious abode, as well a local pub or restaurant for some pap (maize porridge) and a refreshing South African beer.