"Yes," he says proudly. "Lincoln died 150 years ago in America, and he was reborn in 1958 in Soweto."
He pronounces it "So-WET-too"; we try to emulate him.
As we approach Soweto, he says, casually: "If the children come out to throw stones at us, I will stop the bus so you can throw them back."
We recognize, slowly, his sly, deadpan sense of humor, exercised usually at the expense of tourists who haven't quite figured out how ill at ease to be here.
"In 1976," he goes on, "I was one of the children throwing stones at white tourists." That was the year a number of black youths protesting apartheid were shot dead in the township by white police.
Our first stop, an open-air fruit and vegetable market, creates a lasting impression. Everywhere is the smoke and stink of garbage fires. Long rows of cut-pole stands with canvas roofs sell piles of plump tomatoes and pumpkins and squash and apples and T-shirts with the African National Congress campaign slogan: "Peace, Progress & Prosperity With the ANC."
Good smells fight through the stench from steel-barrel charcoal braziers roasting the staple mieles -- pronounced "mealies" -- the longest, fattest ears of corn I've ever seen.
Lincoln shows us areas where the old, all-white government imposed segregation even inside Soweto, housing Zulu tribe members in one area, Xhosas in another. He shows us the drab, military-style barracks where men from various tribes have had to live alone, leaving their families hundreds of miles away in the black "homelands," if they want to support them by finding day work in Johannesburg.
Lincoln calls the separation an attempt to foster rivalry and fighting between the tribes, to divert them from fighting apartheid.
"They say we can't get along. It isn't true. We even marry each other."
He shows us where a small group of Zulus shot 10 members of the Xhosa tribe a year ago in a dispute. "You see it on TV in the evening, and they make it sound like all of Soweto is burning."
The complaint is eerily familiar to someone from Miami.
"You must go back to your countries and tell them how it is," he says. "Not Soweto is fighting, the so-and-so area of Soweto is fighting."
He shows us richer areas of Soweto -- big, impressive houses with tall walls around them, opulent architecture that would be at home in any upper-middle-class American suburb. Shiny, new BMWs in the streets. They are the homes of black millionaires and black leaders -- among them Winnie Mandela, now that Nelson has moved out, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and a variety of sports heroes. Soweto isn't all slum.
Then, taking open satisfaction in the starkness of the contrast, Lincoln drives us straight from millionaires' row to the squatters' camps. In the past few years, with the repeal of South Africa's infamous Group Areas laws that kept blacks locked in primitive, resourceless "homelands" far from the big cities, they have flocked here seeking jobs in Johannesburg.
The white government denied them most resources. No electricity. No running water. No garbage pickup. Oddly, there is sanitation -- row upon row of fiberglass port-a-johns.
We see block after block of squalid shacks scrabbled together from sheets of aluminum, old car parts, broken planks, whatever could be found. One shack shares its walls with another. No trees, no grass, no space. I have never seen a sorrier place.
But Soweto's children come out to run beside our cambi screaming and laughing. Its adults emerge to smile and wave. No emotion except friendly curiosity. No hands out except to shake. We stop at a ramshackle Soweto bar, drink a beer, play with the children.
We won't be throwing any rocks back today.
KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
Photo opportunities abound each kilometer
"Oh, look! An impala!"
Our minibus screeches to a halt. The four of us click away, using up half a roll of film each on a single animal.
It shows how little we know Kruger. By day's end we wouldn't lift a lens for fewer than 20 impala in a herd. And then only if the light was perfect.
Even though Kruger, at 600,000 acres, is one of the world's biggest wild game preserves, its concentrations of game are astonishing. When I safaried through Kenya 15 years ago, we would drive mile after dusty mile between animal sightings. Here every kilometer brings a new photo op.
It's a civilized sort of wilderness. Most roads are paved and well-marked, so that with a minibus and a map, we didn't need a professional guide. And over the decades the animals have grown used to passing minibuses; they don't flee at first sight.
Still, it's no zoo. The wildlife, in its natural habitat, is in charge. Locals say tourists illegally stepping outside their minibuses will be lucky if they are arrested by wardens before they are eaten by animals.
They also like to say that, given a week in Kruger, you're very likely to see the "Big Five" of animal spotting -- lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo and rhinos.
In our first half-hour, before the sun is fully up, we believe it. We spot, dashing away into the brush, the rear-end of a rare baby white rhino. A quarter kilometer down the road we see two zebras, strolling carelessly back into the bush.
Now there are two giraffes, noisily pulling down the tops of acacia trees to munch the tender top leaves, oblivious to the long, vicious thorns. They sway their tendril necks gracefully and preen for our madly clicking cameras.
Another impala. No, two. No, half a dozen. We take a snap or two.
We hear crashing to the left; it's a pair of elephants. They don't bother pulling down the tree tops; just lower their heads and butt them over. Such table manners.
More impala. A herd. A nation. They surround us, stream across the road, sleek haunches rippling as they bound away in high leaps. The locals have a verb -- "pronking" -- for when impala jump straight up into the air for no discernible reason. They also use it for fidgety humans.
At mid-morning we finally find a hippo. It's a stunning vista; a big blue lake surrounded by low green hills dotted with red-necked buzzards and a single great, gray heron poking in the shallow water. The hippo, unfortunately, is barely visible. A broad back sticking out of the water. A pair of mammoth nostrils thrusting up to blow steam, suck in air. We spot five hippos before our visit ends, and all we ever see of them are 10 nose holes.
By mid-afternoon the heat grows oppressive. We've been up since 4 a.m. We're on dirt roads now, and Africa's red dust billows through the minivan, coating our lenses, our lungs. But we haven't seen a lion.
Then we're flagged down by a car coming from the other direction.
"Just half a kilometer back," its driver whispers. "A lioness. Under a tree."
We creep forward, scanning every tree for 100 yards back from the road. It takes forever.
There she is! Not 10 feet from the road. I have never been this close to one in the wild.
She eyes us. We try to read her expression. Disdain? Annoyance? We finish off our film.
She sighs, picks herself up, walks away with dignified gait.
It's the peak, we think.