(a contraction of "Southwest Townships") is an urban area near Johannesburg
, South Africa
. During the apartheid
regime, Soweto was constructed for the specific purpose of housing African people who were then living in areas designated by the government for white settlement. Today it remains an overwhelmingly black-dominated city.
The name Soweto is an acronym for "South Western Townships" and does not mean anything besides this in any South African language.
Soweto came to the world's attention in 1976, when riots broke out over the government's decision to enforce education in Afrikaans rather than English. See History of South Africa.
A series of bombs rocked Soweto in October, 2002. The explosions, believed to be the work of the Boeremag, a right wing extremist group, damaged buildings and railway lines, and killed one person.