Johannesburg, South Africa, June 21-27, 2009

I’m glad I went if only to refresh the images: large tracks of tiny tidy box houses painted in different colors; new apartment blocks, some seeming quite substantial; some elegant neighborhoods, much like a southern California suburb; informal settlements of shacks and dirt with little kids, dogs, chickens and even a few pigs running around; barrack like hostiles for migrant workers; a mega evangelical church the size of a basketball arena that tithes its members. It wasn’t exactly depressing and is certainly not an unrelenting slum of desperation and decay. I am told that there are communities like that in some of the rural areas where unemployment can be well over 50%, but here, in Soweto, there is more money that flows into the community and the desperation seems more on the margins.

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