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Transportation

In Johannesburg, a New Bridge Must Also Address Apartheid's Legacy

The city has an ambitious plan to redress historic inequities through mass transit and redevelopment.
A woman in the Alexandra township of Johannesburg walks past a mural of Nelson Mandela, who lived in the township as a young man.
A woman in the Alexandra township of Johannesburg walks past a mural of Nelson Mandela, who lived in the township as a young man. Themba Hadebe/AP

JOHANNESBURG—Only four miles separate the crowded township of Alexandra, where Tshepo Monama lives in a one-room house, from the skyscraper suburb of Sandton where he is employed as a barista in an upscale office block. But in some ways, they might as well be on different planets.

The roads Monama navigates out of Alex each morning are pockmarked with potholes and strewn with garbage. In the inky 5 a.m. darkness, he shuffles to avoid the flattened red carcass of a rat pressed into the asphalt.