Soweto is a former township from the times of Apartheid. Starting about 15 km away from the centre of Johannesburg, it comprises some 63 sq. km, where an estimated thee million people live.
Originally there were only temporary living quarters for the mine workers, before Soweto was declared a ghetto for the black population of Johannesburg by the infamous "Urban Areas Act" in 1923.
Soweto is a city of contrasts: luxurious mansions across the road from tin shanties, green fields and streams around the corner from piles of garbage, the biggest public hospital in the world with the world's highest HIV infection rate, and a friendliness and cheerfulness that disguises a high unemployment rate.
Although the government had a housing program to build hundreds of thousands of plain two-room houses here, the illegal squatter camps kept on growing and spreading.
Still Soweto is by no means only an accumulation of tin shacks. There are also better suburbs and a large number of social institutions like schools and hospitals.
There are three main kinds of transport in the township: minibus taxis, buses and trains. Most people take taxis because they are fast and cheap and stop anywhere, although regard them as dangerous.