Located about 15 km from the centre of Johannesburg, Soweto is a former township from South Africa's apartheid past. Approximately three million people live in Soweto today, which comprises about 63 km² in size.
Like Johannesburg, Soweto was born from the country's discovery of gold in 1885. Thousands of hopefuls flocked to the area to seek their fortunes or to search for mining work. Residents of today's Soweto were first located in "Coolietown" in the centre of Johannesburg. Following an outbreak of the bubonic plague, the inhabitants were relocated to an area called Klipspruit in 1905. Temporary living quarters were set up for mine workers at first, but eventually Soweto became a ghetto for the black population of Johannesburg via 1923's "Urban Areas Act". A government housing program was implemented to build hundreds of thousands of plain two-room houses, yet the illegal squatter camps evolved significantly.
Today, Soweto is a city of contrasts, where one can discover lavish mansions located mere feet away from tin shacks, and squatters living right next to suburban neighbourhoods filled with double-storey houses, flat-roof homes, schools and hospitals.
Soweto might be known for its poor infrastructure, high unemployment and crime rates, yet only a few kilometres away lie Diepkloof Extension and Pimville – where Soweto's richest live. And this is evidenced by the assortment of modern luxurious homes (many valued above R1 million).
This is because modern-day Soweto has seen a rise in house prices that even outperform Sandton, Johannesburg's richest square mile. A growing need for houses has been discovered in more affordable areas such as Randburg, Midrand and Johannesburg's central business district (CBD). Yet the surrounding areas of Soweto and Lenasia have been performing much better than the posh northern suburbs in terms of rising house prices.
In addition to sufficient housing (whether double-storey houses or flat-roof houses in Soweto), the township also places emphasis on the upgrading and provision of recreational and sporting facilities, plus the "greening" of the city by rehabilitating the various streams, rivers and parks.
While green and safe parks were not a concern for the authorities in Soweto in the past, that has changed. One example of this is Thokoza Park, which incorporates Moroka Dam, which has reclaimed its status as a favourite outdoor attraction in Soweto. In addition to well-manicured lawns and paved footpaths, the 4,5 hecate park also boasts Soweto's first fountain.
Residents of Soweto are also privy to a host of outdoor / recreational / leisure facilities, which includes approximately 120 soccer fields, 6 swimming pools, 140 netball fields, 2 rugby fields, 3 boxing gymnasiums, plus a number of libraries and community centres.
With homify's convenient collection of architects and other professionals in the architectural / design / building industry, finding the right expert is easier than ever before. Our professionals are grouped into relevant categories / South African cities to ensure you find potential candidates closest to you.
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After browsing through our lists and making your personal selection of architects, contact your favourites to set up an initial meeting. Bear in mind that some firms may charge a fee for this, so be sure to ask.
Depending on the nature of your project (such as building a brand-new house or doing some minor alterations to an existing home), you may be working with your architect for quite some time. That is why it's important to ensure you are both on the same page regarding your project and budget by asking the right questions, such as:
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