02 July 2015 | Carina van Wyk and Nicky Mahlatsi
Children from the Waterwax informal settlement in Soweto loved every minute of Joburg's Red Bus City Tour
“What do you like most about the red bus?” we asked nine-year-old Vuyisile Majola, one of 50 children from the Waterwax informal settlement in Soweto who were treated to a City Sightseeing Red City Tour on 1 July. He thought for a few seconds – with a big smile across his face – before answering: “E-e-e-verything!”
And he was not the only one who thought so – the “oohs” and “aahs” of excited kids could be heard throughout the trip, which was organised by the Nashua Children’s Charity Foundation.
The children could hardly contain their excitement
The group hopped onto the bus at Gold Reef City before making their way to theSci-Bono Discovery Centre, where they learnt about the dangers of smoking and how electric currents work, met a few dinosaurs and laughed at their distorted reflections in a concave mirror.
Meeting the Afrovenator abakensis, a dinosaur that lived between 160-million and 135-million years ago
On their way to the next stop, Constitution Hill, the kids tucked into their lunch packs. The friendly Eva Chauke from City Sightseeing helped them put on their red-and-yellow headphones so that they could listen to the commentary about all the places they were driving past. “Wow, Park Station, Park Station!” the little ones exclaimed, followed by “Nelson Mandela Bridge!” as the bus moved across this Joburg landmark.
Eva loved every moment just as much as the kids did: “They’re playing, they’re having fun, and then I’m enjoying it too … It puts a smile on your face.”
The kids loved City Sightseeing’s Eva Chauke. Here they are at Constitution Hill
In contrast to the earlier excitement was the stunned silence and shock as the children heard about the conditions under which prisoners were held at Constitution Hill years ago. Thandokazi Mphurana (9) said she was happy to be at Constitution Hill, but sad to see how people were treated.
Watching a video at Constitution Hill
The trip finished off to a chorus of loud shrieks, “wows” and “yo-yo-yos” at the James Hall Museum of Transport, especially when the children were looking at the antique cars and motorbikes.
“This is their only school holiday treat and every part of it has been an experience for them. It’s a total treat – from the moment they got on the bus and put the earphones on,” said Helen Fraser, operations director of the Nashua Children’s Charity Foundation. “We can’t do it without sponsors,” she added.
Christine Tworeck, general manager of City Sightseeing Joburg, said: “City Sightseeing thrives on linking the many, often undervalued, tourism elements of Johannesburg, especially with the younger generation from our surrounding communities. We commend the Nashua Children’s Charity Foundation for making this day possible.”
The James Hall Museum of Transport was the last stop. Image by Nashua Children’s Charity Foundation