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Soweto Landmark: the Cooling Towers

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

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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.

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.