Orlando, Soweto

Orlando, Soweto

Orlando is a township in the urban area of Soweto, in the city of Johannesburg (South Africa). It is the most densely populated area of South Africa.[1] The township was founded in 1931 and named after Edwin Orlando Leake, Mayor of Johannesburg from 1925 to 1926. It is divided in two main areas: Orlando West and Orlando East.

The township of Orlando was directly involved in some of the most important events of the fight against the apartheid system. Some of the most dramatic clashes between the South African police and anti-apartheid demonstrators occurred in Orlando West; this include the Soweto uprising where 12 year old Hector Pieterson was killed. The Hector Pieterson Memorial Museum was established in Orlando West to commemorate those events.[2] In the surroundings of the museum is also the house where Nelson Mandela lived for several years while practicing law; the house now hosts the Mandela Family Museum was established in the house.[3]

Orlando East was also involved in dramatic shoot-outs in the apartheid era. One of these occurred at the Regina Mundi church, which is the main Roman Catholic church in South Africa, the same day that Pieterson was killed in West Orlando. The facade of the church and the interior still show bullet holes.[1] After the apartheid system was dismissed, several meetings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission were held in Regina Mundi.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Regina Mundi, Queen of Soweto
  2. ^ Hector Pieterson Memorial Site
  3. ^ The Mandela Family Museum


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