Playing out in the township Alexandra, this is a tour like no other! Lights, Gangs and All That Jazz highlights the culture that exists in ‘Alex’ today and foretells of the inventive possibilities that the future can bring for the area.
Departing from Marlboro Gautrain Station, we head out by local mini-bus taxi to No. 69 12th Avenue. This Heritage Site was the headquarters of the notorious Msomi Gang who conducted a reign of terror in the area in the 1950s. A grandson of one of the original gang members gives a personal narration of this history and the building until its transformation into the ‘chesa nyama’ business it is today (Shisa Nyama is a term used in many South African townships to describe a barbecue/braai where friends and families come together to grill meat on an open fire – source Wikipedia).
On 2nd Avenue, Kings Cinema is home to vintage reels of film and original theatre projector (still in working condition) which were viewed by our beloved Nelson Mandela when he lived in Alexandra. Bombed by apartheid forces in 1984, the theatre was rebuilt and now operates as a venue for hire to the God Never Fails Church.
At our final stop, 7th Avenue we are serenaded by jazz musicians at a local jazz club. With some luck, you may arrive on a day when they ditch their instruments – improvising musical instruments with their voices and delivering an incredible acapella performance.
This 3 hour tour departs on Saturdays and Sundays between 14h00 and 17h00 from Marlboro Gautrain Station. Its a fully guided escorted tour and includes food and refreshments.
Fabulous experience visiting heritage buildings, meeting the local people. Where today would you visit an old cinema with the original seals and popcorn maker? The old original posters are still in the entrance. Finished off at the Jazz Club where all the local musicians meet. Enjoyed the local cuisine and if you’re adventurous, try the chicken feet! All part of the great community experience. Thank you for a great tour. – Bernadette Nickol
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