A couple of weeks ago I took a walk through Alexandra Township, aka Alex, as part of an event sponsored by an Alex-based tourism company called The Hub Presents and a travel networking organization called Travel Massive. I’ve been to Alex many times but I never turn down an opportunity to go back, as I believe Alex deserves more love as a tourist destination.

Child on the Jukskei River in AlexandraA child runs next to the bank of the Jukskei River, a trickling waterway that runs through Alex.

I don’t want to say too much about this walk because I’m definitely going to do a full-length tour with the Hub Presents — it seems like such a cool company and I want to experience all of its offerings before doing a full review. But here are a few photos in the meantime.

Kids playing in AlexandraKids playing in a new park built along the banks of the Jukskei. 

Thalibhan car wash in AlexInteresting car wash sign. I chatted briefly to the owners but couldn’t get a clear answer on what the sign actually means.

Alexandra sewage pipeOur guide, Sifiso, explained that this sewage pipe used to be one of the only places where pedestrians could cross the Jukskei. Fortunately there is a new pedestrian bridge now.

Child on bridge in AlexA child on the pedestrian bridge.

Alexandra tuck shopA small food shop — or spaza shop — in Alex.

Alexandra pay phoneAn Alexandra pay phone.

Pay phone guy in AlexThe owner of the pay phone.

Lady selling offal in AlexandraA “gogo”, or granny, selling animal entrails and chicken feet by the side of the road.

View of AlexLooking out over Alex from a sports field on the edge of the township.

Sunset in Alexandra TownshipAn Alexandra sunset.

Pat's Tavern in AlexandraPat’s Tavern, a popular Alex hangout.

As I’ve written in previous posts, Alex is one of Joburg’s most historic places. It’s the oldest township in Joburg (older than Soweto), and it was Nelson Mandela’s first Joburg home. Alex is home to high concentrations of immigrants from all over South Africa, and Africa. Alex is severely lacking in resources and public services and the majority of its residents live in poverty. Alex is only about three square miles in size and it houses about 200,000 people, possibly more.

Alex is directly adjacent to Sandton City, nicknamed “Africa’s richest square mile”.

Alexandra Township and SandtonAlex with Sandton City looming in the background. I shot this photo during my first tour of Alex in 2011.

If you don’t live in Alex yourself, it’s easy to forget (or perhaps to pretend) that it doesn’t exist. But Alex does exist and it’s a pretty cool place to visit. I highly recommend it.

%d bloggers like this: