The World: Inside Sprawling Soweto

Doctors darting

From place to place

With harried nurses at their side.

So it's Friday night.

Everybody's enjoying

In Soweto

−Oswald Mtshali,

Sounds of a Cowhide Drum

Even on Friday night−payday−there's not much to enjoy in Soweto. Into a 35-sq.-mi. area are packed perhaps a million people−650,000 by official count−and life is hard and bleak. Soweto is Johannesburg's Harlem, a black ghetto that has sprawled into the country's fourth largest city.

Very little is pretty about Soweto, not even the name (which rhymes with potato). It derives from no tribal dialect but from "southwestern township,"...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!