A TOWNSHIP WITH SOUL
Mamelodi is one of Tshwane’s largest townships and its name means “mother of melodies” – owing to the township’s long relationship with jazz music, leading to it being proclaimed as the ‘Home of Jazz’.
Numerous shebeens (pubs) in the townships provide venues where residents and visitors can listen to live jazz performances while enjoying a traditional African meal. Visitors to Mamelodi get to sample the unique tastes of the local cuisine, and are always at the tasty hot curry chicken legs, morogo and pap and other unique meals at some of the many restaurants and take-away vendors situated in the township.
At the entrance to Mamelodi stands a 5.7 metre bronze statue of Solomon Mahlangu in the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom Square. ln 1979 Mahlangu was one of the first freedom fighters of the African National Congress’ military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, as well as the first son of the city to be executed by the Apartheid government. Solomon is therefore honoured at this Square, which also serves to mark the place of the “Mamelodi Massacre” of 21 November 1985.
Other places of interest around Mamelodi include:
- The old beer hall – which was the first structure in the township to have electricity (supplied by a generator);
- The Pan Africanist Congress monument;
- The Stanza Bopape Memorial – commemorating a hero of the struggle who died in 1988 at the hands of the apartheid security forces;
- Moretele Park – famous for playing host annually to the Moretele Jazz concert;
- Dr Ribeiro’s house – which belonged to the first ‘white’ doctor to live and work in the township, who was killed by the apartheid security forces in 1986 for treating injured ANC activists;
- The SOS Children’s Village – which houses parentless children growing up with the love of a foster mother;
- The HM Pitje Stadium – named after Hesekiah Mothibe Pitje, the first Mayor of Mamelodi and devoted fighter for human rights. The stadium gave rise to the founding of Mamelodi Sundowns, one of the biggest football clubs in South Africa today;
- Solomon Mahlangu’s house – from where the leader of local cadre, planned the resistance against the apartheid regime;
- The Stanza Bopape Memorial – in dedication to one of the local political heroes who died in 1988 at the hands of the apartheid security forces;
- Vista University Mamelodi Campus – Built 1980, where black academics were trained;
- Old Mamelodi Rondavels – where some of the first black teachers such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu were trained (at the Transvaal College which was established here in 1950)