The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Soweto is an urban area in Johannesburg, in Gauteng province South Africa. In 1950 during the apartheid regime, Soweto was constructed to be self-sufficent for the specific purpose of housing African people who were then living in areas designated by the government for white settlement (such as the multi-racial area called Sophiatown). It began as a grouping of the farms Doornkop, Klipriviersoog, Diepkloof, Klipspruit and Vogelstruisfontein. Today's Soweto, incorporating Orlando, Dobsonville, Diepkloof and Dube, remains an overwhelmingly black-dominated city with over three million people.

The name Soweto is a contraction of "South Western Townships" and does not mean anything besides this in any South African language.

Soweto came to the world's attention in 1976, when riots broke out over the government's decision to enforce education in Afrikaans rather than English. See History of South Africa.

A series of bombs rocked Soweto in October 2002. The explosions, believed to be the work of the Boeremag, a right wing extremist group, damaged buildings and railway lines, and killed one person.

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Last updated: 05-16-2005 16:56:35
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04