“Bringing Sandton into Soweto”: Perceptions of Tourism-Led Gentrification in a South African Township

Nomaswazi Kambule, Gijsbert Hoogendoorn, Gustav Visser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the past five decades, a vast literature on gentrification has developed. Evidence of gentrification in South African cities has been recorded in historically White neighbourhoods or city districts. The presence of gentrification in peripheral, poor, traditionally Black townships has had very little (if any) consideration in the literature, and this investigation aims to address aspects of this scholarly oversight. The paper is set in the iconic South African township of Soweto. It is argued that the Vilakazi precinct in Orlando West is an example of tourism-led gentrification. The investigation unpacks the development and gentrification of the precinct and the range of tourism roles therein. The study found that residents’ experiences were mixed; some aspects of expanded leisure and services were seen positively, while forms of economic and social exclusion were also recorded following the literature on township tourism. This unique case study connects the Global North and South experience of tourism-led gentrification, arguing that much com-mon ground between these regions is to be found.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-146
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2024


  • gentrification
  • South Africa
  • Soweto
  • tourism
  • township

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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