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<p><strong>Kholofelo Mhlanga</strong><br />
kholofelom@greateralextoday.co.za</p>

<p>IF a foreign tourist was to approach you and ask- “What is special about Alexandra Township?” “Brace yourself; you are touring in one of the best townships in South Africa located next to the richest economic hub Sandton. This is the township that housed and gave birth to many leaders of the liberation struggle. Icons like Nelson Mandela, the man whose strength and intelligence earned him respect across the world, of course I’m talking about my first black president of South Africa.</p>

<p>You haven’t heard half of it, my township has brought up leaders of this country, and I’m talking about my former president Kgalema Motlanthe who learned his grades in one of the primary schools here. Irvin Khoza, the chairman Orlando Pirates one of the biggest soccer clubs in South African. My Alexandra was a home to all presidents of the post postapartheid state, with the exception of the incumbent, Jacob Zuma. Thabo Mbeki is also an Alexandran by virtue of his marriage to Zanele Dlamini, whose family home is in Alexandra. I’m talking Joe Nhlanhla, Richard Baloy; Pan-Africanist Congress Stalwart, Josias Madzunya; former ANC secretary general and cabinet minister, Alfred Nzo; deputy minister in the presidency, Obed Bapela; MEC of human settlement, Paul Mashatile and many more too numerous to mention, all hail from the vibrant streets of Alexandra. Even the former and the first president of Mozambique and that country’s liberation struggle soldier, Samora Machel, once experienced Alexandra life when he fl ed the Portuguese regime in what used to be Lorenzo Marques.</p>

<p>I walk the same streets that are and were walked by the greatest icons and stars. When asked “where are you from?” my answer is always filled with pride as I say “I’m from Alex”. My Alexandra, the township that is fl ooding with opportunities for its youth and fun activities. We have active programmes that aims to aid and empower youth to unleash their greatness. If I were to list them the sun will go down on me.</p>

<p>What is it that you cannot find in Alexandra? Absolutely nothing. Even the biggest rat that you have never seen in your life, you will find it right here in Alex passing on your feet like it just flashed a smile at you. That’s why we have seen most directors choosing to film here because it is indeed a special township. Going back to the foreign tourist’s question “What’s special about Alexandra Township”? Here are some of the answers I received from the streets: Mbongeni Seema said “Alexandra is one if the oldest townships in South Africa. It has more than 100 years and that is one of the things that makes it special.”</p>

<p>A 26-year-old Mpho Shaba from 19th Avenue said she’s been to various townships but none can be compared to Alexandra. “I always tell my friends that no township can be compared to my Alexandra Township. Alexandra is special in its own way. It is perceived as this dirty dangerous township but beyond all that it has a beautiful side to it that I wish those people who say it is a dangerous place should come and witness.” Shaba said enthusiastically.</p>
Alexandra - My Best Township

Kholofelo Mhlanga
kholofelom@greateralextoday.co.za

IF a foreign tourist was to approach you and ask- “What is special about Alexandra Township?” “Brace yourself; you are touring in one of the best townships in South Africa located next to the richest economic hub Sandton. This is the township that housed and gave birth to many leaders of the liberation struggle. Icons like Nelson Mandela, the man whose strength and intelligence earned him respect across the world, of course I’m talking about my first black president of South Africa.

You haven’t heard half of it, my township has brought up leaders of this country, and I’m talking about my former president Kgalema Motlanthe who learned his grades in one of the primary schools here. Irvin Khoza, the chairman Orlando Pirates one of the biggest soccer clubs in South African. My Alexandra was a home to all presidents of the post postapartheid state, with the exception of the incumbent, Jacob Zuma. Thabo Mbeki is also an Alexandran by virtue of his marriage to Zanele Dlamini, whose family home is in Alexandra. I’m talking Joe Nhlanhla, Richard Baloy; Pan-Africanist Congress Stalwart, Josias Madzunya; former ANC secretary general and cabinet minister, Alfred Nzo; deputy minister in the presidency, Obed Bapela; MEC of human settlement, Paul Mashatile and many more too numerous to mention, all hail from the vibrant streets of Alexandra. Even the former and the first president of Mozambique and that country’s liberation struggle soldier, Samora Machel, once experienced Alexandra life when he fl ed the Portuguese regime in what used to be Lorenzo Marques.

I walk the same streets that are and were walked by the greatest icons and stars. When asked “where are you from?” my answer is always filled with pride as I say “I’m from Alex”. My Alexandra, the township that is fl ooding with opportunities for its youth and fun activities. We have active programmes that aims to aid and empower youth to unleash their greatness. If I were to list them the sun will go down on me.

What is it that you cannot find in Alexandra? Absolutely nothing. Even the biggest rat that you have never seen in your life, you will find it right here in Alex passing on your feet like it just flashed a smile at you. That’s why we have seen most directors choosing to film here because it is indeed a special township. Going back to the foreign tourist’s question “What’s special about Alexandra Township”? Here are some of the answers I received from the streets: Mbongeni Seema said “Alexandra is one if the oldest townships in South Africa. It has more than 100 years and that is one of the things that makes it special.”

A 26-year-old Mpho Shaba from 19th Avenue said she’s been to various townships but none can be compared to Alexandra. “I always tell my friends that no township can be compared to my Alexandra Township. Alexandra is special in its own way. It is perceived as this dirty dangerous township but beyond all that it has a beautiful side to it that I wish those people who say it is a dangerous place should come and witness.” Shaba said enthusiastically.

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