Soweto Landmark: the Cooling Towers


Spotted! The twin cooling towers of the defunct Orlando Power Station in Soweto, South Africa’s largest township.

Where are they? Between Pimville and Orlando West (the latter being the former home of Nelson & Winnie Mandela; one of Desmond Tutu’s current homes; site of a June 16th massacre; etc.) | Map

What are they? At the moment, advertisements. The one in the background is an ad for First National Bank; the one in the foreground for I-don’t-know-what. (It may, in fact, not be an advertisement, but a feel-good mural compliments of the government.) When the power plant was working – it was a coal-burning plant – all the juice went north, to illuminate and heat the (whites-only, during apartheid) city and northern suburbs of Johannesburg, while Soweto residents lived with the plant’s pollution, and without power.

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Why would I ever go past? To cross from the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital to the Hector Petersen Memorial, on a tour of Soweto.

What’s nearby? Pimville, where the township was founded (its original name was Klipspruit.