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Johannesburg ( ) also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or eGoli, is the largest city in South Africa. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gautengmarker, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa. The city is one of the 40 largest metropolitan areas in the world and it is one of only six of Africa's global cities, the other being Cairomarker, Cape Townmarker, Casablancamarker, Nairobimarker and Port Louismarker.. While Johannesburg is not officially one of South Africa's three capital cities, it does house the Constitutional Courtmarker South Africa's highest court.Johannesburg is the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade, due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrandmarker range of hills. Johannesburg is served by O.R.marker Tambo International Airportmarker, the largest and busiest airport in Africa and a gateway for international air travel to and from the rest of southern Africa.

According to the 2007 Community Survey, the population of the municipal city was 3,888,180 and the population of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area was 7,151,447 . A broader definition of the Johannesburg metropolitan area, including Ekhurulenimarker, the West Randmarker, Sowetomarker and Lenasiamarker, has a population of 10,267,700 . The municipal city's land area of is very large when compared to other cities, resulting in a moderate population density of .

Johannesburg once again includes Sowetomarker, which was a separate city from the late 1970s until the 1990s. Originally an acronym for "SOuth-WEstern TOwnships", Soweto originated as a collection of settlements on the outskirts of Johannesburg populated mostly by native African workers in the gold mining industry. Eventually incorporated into Johannesburg, the apartheid regime (in power 1949 - 1994) separated Soweto from the rest of Johannesburg to make it a completely Black area. Lenasiamarker is also part of Johannesburg.

Gautengmarker is growing rapidly due to mass urbanisation which is a feature of many developing countries. According to the State of the Cities Report, the urban portion of Gauteng comprised primarily of the cities of Johannesburg, Ekurhulenimarker (the East Randmarker) and Tshwanemarker (greater Pretoriamarker) will be a polycentric urban region with a projected population of some 14.6 million people by 2015.


The region surrounding Johannesburg was originally inhabited by San tribes. By the 1200s, groups of Bantu-speaking peoples started moving southwards from central Africa and encroached on the indigenous San population. By the mid 1700s, the broader region was densely settled by various Sotho-Tswana communities (one linguistic branch of Bantu-speakers), whose villages, towns, chiefdoms and kingdoms stretched from what is now Botswanamarker in the west, to present day Lesothomarker in the south, to the present day Pedi areas of the northern Transvaal.

More specifically, the stone-walled ruins of Sotho-Tswana towns and villages are scattered around the parts of the former Transvaal in which Johannesburg is situated. The Sotho-Tswana practiced farming, raised cattle, sheep and goats, and extensively mined and smelted copper, iron and tin. Moreover, from the early 1960s until his retirement, Professor Revil Mason, of the University of the Witwatersrandmarker, explored and documented many Late Iron Age archeological sites throughout the Johannesburg area, dating from between the 1100s and 1700s, and many of these sites contained the ruins of Sotho-Tswana mines and iron smelting furnaces, suggesting that the area was being exploited for its mineral wealth before the arrival of Europeans or the discovery of gold. The most prominent site within Johannesburg is Melvillemarker Koppies, which contains an iron smelting furnace.Many Sotho-Tswana towns and villages in the areas around Johannesburg were destroyed and their people driven away during the wars emanating from Zululand during the late 1700s and early 1800s (the mfecane or difaqane wars), and as a result, an offshoot of the Zulu kingdom, the Matabele, set up a kingdom to the northwest of Johannesburg around modern day Hartebeestpoortmarker and Rustenburgmarker, and historians believe that the Matebele kingdom dominated the Johannesburg area. The Dutch speaking Voortrekkers arrived in the early 1800s, driving away the Matebele with the help of Sotho-Tswana allies, establishing settlements around Rustenburg and Pretoria in the early 1830s, and claiming sovereignty over what would become Johannesburg as part of the South African Republic or Transvaal Republic. Gold was discovered in the 1880s and triggered the gold rush.Gold was initially discovered some 400 km to the east of present-day Johannesburg, in Barbertonmarker. Gold prospectors soon discovered that there were even richer gold reefs in the Witwatersrandmarker. Gold was discovered at Langlaagte, Johannesburg in 1886.

Johannesburg was a dusty settlement some 55 km from the Transvaal Republic capital which was Pretoriamarker. The town was much the same as any small prospecting settlement, but, as word spread, people flocked to the area from all other regions of the country, as well as from North America, the United Kingdom and Europe.. As the value of control of the land increased, tensions developed between the Boer government in Pretoria and the Britishmarker, culminating in the Jameson Raid that ended in fiasco at Doornkop in January 1896 and the Second Boer War (1899-1902) that saw British forces under Lord Roberts occupy the city on 30 May 1900 after a series of battles to the south of its then-limits.

Fighting took place at the Gatsrand Pass (near Zakariyya Park) on 27 May, north of Vanwyksrust -today's Nancefield, Eldorado Park and Naturena - the next day, culminating in a mass infantry attack on what is now the waterworks ridge in Chiawelo and Senaoane on 29 May.

Controversy surrounds the origin of the name, as there were any number of people with the name "Johannes" who were involved in the early history of the city. The principal clerk attached to the office of the surveyor-general, Johannes Rissik, Christiaan Johannes Joubert, member of the Volksraad and the Republic's chief of mining, Paul Kruger, President of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (Transvaalmarker). Rissik and Joubert were members of a delegation sent to England to attain mining rights for the area. Joubert had a park in the city named after him and Rissik street is today a main street where the (now dilapidated) Post Office and City Hall are located.


Main articles: City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality and Regions of Johannesburg

[[File:Johannesburg 2006 regions with legend.PNG|thumb|right|Region A Diepsloot, Kya Sand

Region B : Randburg, Rosebank, Emmarentia, Greenside, Melville, Northcliff, Rosebank, Parktown, Parktown North

Region C : Roodepoort, Constantia Kloof, Northgate

Region D : Doornkop, Soweto, Dobsonville, Protea Glen

Region E : Alexandra, Wynberg, Sandton

Region F : Inner City

Region G : Orange Farm, Ennerdale, Lenasia]]During the apartheid era, Johannesburg was divided into 11 local authorities, seven of which were white and four black or coloured. The white authorities were 90% self-sufficient from property tax and other local taxes, and spent ZAR 600 (USD 93) per person, while the black authorities were only 10% self-sufficient, spending R 100 (USD 15) per person.

The first post-apartheid City Council was created in 1995. The council adopted the slogan "One City, One Taxpayer" in order to highlight its primary goal of addressing unequal tax revenue distribution. To this end, revenue from wealthy, traditionally white areas would help pay for services needed in poorer, black areas. The City Council was divided into four regions, each with a substantially autonomous local regional authority that was to be overseen by a central metropolitan council. Furthermore, the municipal boundaries were expanded to include wealthy satellite towns like Sandtonmarker and Randburgmarker, poorer neighbouring townships such as Sowetomarker and Alexandramarker, and informal settlements like Orange Farm.

In 1999, Johannesburg appointed a city manager in order to reshape the city's ailing financial situation. The manager, together with the Municipal Council, drew up a blueprint called "Igoli 2002". This was a three-year plan that called upon the government to sell non-core assets, restructure certain utilities, and required that all others become self-sufficient. The plan took the city from near insolvency to an operating surplus of R 153 million (USD 23.6 million).

Following the creation of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, Johannesburg was divided into eleven administrative regions (these regions did not correspond to the areas governed by the former local authorities). In 2006, the number of administrative regions was consolidated, from eleven to seven.[9314]


After the Group Areas Act was scrapped in 1991, Johannesburg was affected by urban blight. Thousands of poor, mostly black people, who had been forbidden to live in the city proper, moved into the city from surrounding black townships like Sowetomarker and many immigrants from economically beleaguered and war torn African nations flooded into South Africa, with Johannesburg the most Northerly major city and therein a logical choice. Many buildings were abandoned by landlords, especially in high-density areas, such as Hillbrowmarker. Many corporations and institutions, including the stock exchange, moved their headquarters away from the city centre, to suburbs like Sandtonmarker.

Reviving the city centre is one of the main aims of the municipal government of Johannesburg. Drastic measures have been taken to reduce crime in the city. These measures include closed-circuit television on street corners. As of December 11 2008, every street corner in Johannesburg central is under high-tech CCTV surveillance. The CCTV system, operated by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD), is also able to detect stolen or hijacked vehicles by scanning the number plates of every vehicle traveling through the Central business district (CBD), then comparing them to the eNaTIS database. The CCTV system has proven to be very effective. The average response time by police for crimes committed in the CBD is under 60 seconds.

Crime levels in Johannesburg have dropped as the economy has stabilised and begun to grow. Between 2001 and 2006, R9-Billion (US$1.2 Billion) has been invested in the city centre. Further investment of around R10-Billion (US$ 1.5 Billion) is expected in the city centre alone by 2010. This excludes development directly associated with the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In an effort to prepare Johannesburg for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, local government has enlisted the help of former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani to help bring down the crime rate, as the opening and closing matches of the tournament will be played in the city.


Johannesburg is located in the eastern plateau area of South Africa known as the Highveldmarker, at an elevation of . The former CBD is located on the south side of the prominent ridge called the Witwatersrandmarker (Afrikaans: White Water's Ridge) and the terrain falls to the north and south. By and large the Witwatersrand marks the watershed between the Limpopo and Vaal rivers. The north and west of the city has undulating hills while the eastern parts are flatter.


Johannesburg features a Subtropical highland climate. The city enjoys a dry, sunny climate, with the exception of occasional late afternoon downpours in the summer months of October to April. Temperatures in Johannesburg are usually fairly mild due to the city's high altitude, with the average maximum daytime temperature in January of , dropping to an average maximum of around in June. Winter is the sunniest time of the year, with cool days and cold nights. The temperature occasionally drops to below freezing at night, causing frost. Snow is a rare occurrence, with snowfall having been experienced in May 1956, August 1962, June 1964, September 1981 and August 2006 (light). Snow fell again on 27 June 2007, accumulating up to in the southern suburbs.Regular cold fronts pass over in winter bringing very cold southerly winds but usually clear skies. The annual average rainfall is , which is mostly concentrated in the summer months. Infrequent showers occur through the course of the winter months.

Despite the relatively dry climate, Johannesburg has over ten million trees, and it is now the biggest man-made forest in the world, followed by Graskop in Mpumalanga that is the second biggest. Many trees were originally planted in the northern areas of the city at the end of the 19th century, to provide wood for the mining industry. The areas were developed by the Randlord, Hermann Eckstein, a German immigrant, who called the forest estates Sachsenwald. The name was changed to Saxonwold, now the name of a suburb, during World War I. Early (white) residents who moved into the areas (Parkhurst, Parktown, Parkview, Westcliff, Saxonwold, Houghton Estate, Illovo, Hyde Park, Dunkeld, Melrose, Inanda, Sandhurst) now collectively referred to as the Northern Suburbs retained many of the original trees and planted new ones, with the encouragement of successive city councils. In recent years, however, a considerable number of trees have been felled, to make way for the Northern Suburbs' residential and commercial redevelopment.


Geographical distribution of home languages in Johannesburg.
According to the 2001 South African National Census, the population of Johannesburg is 3,225,812 people, though including the East Rand and other suburban areas it's around 7 million, consisting of people who live in 1,006,930 formal households, of which 86% have a flush or chemical toilet, and 91% have refuse removed by the municipality at least once a week. 81% of households have access to running water, and 80% use electricity as the main source of energy. 22% of Johannesburg residents stay in informal dwellings. 66% of households are headed by one person.

Black Africans account for 73% of the population, followed by whites at 16%, coloureds at 6% and Asians at 4%. 42% of the population is under the age of 24, while 6% of the population is over 60 years of age. 37% of city residents are unemployed. 91% of the unemployed are black. Women comprise 43% of the working population. 19% of economically active adults work in wholesale and retail sectors, 18% in financial, real estate and business services, 17% in community, social and personal services and 12% are in manufacturing. Only 0.7% work in mining.

32% of Johannesburg residents speak Nguni languages at home, 24% speak Sotho languages, 18% speak English, 7% speak Afrikaans and 6% speak Tshivenda. 29% of adults have graduated from high school. 14% have higher education (University or Technical school). 7% of residents are completely illiterate. 15% have primary education.

34% use public transportation to commute to work or school. 32% walk to work or school. 34% use private transportation to travel to work or school.

53% belong to mainstream Christian churches, 24% are not affiliated with any organized religion, 14% are members of African Independent Churches, 3% are Muslim, 1% are Jewish and 1% are Hindu.


The skyline of Hillbrow.
The Southern Life Centre
The KwaDukuza eGoli Hotel
Carlton Centre.
Absa Bank, one of the largest banks in Africa.
Sandton City, one of the Largest Shopping Centres in the Southern Hemisphere.
Johannesburg is one of the most modern and prosperous cities in South Africa. Due to its many different central districts Johannesburg would fall under the Multiple Nuclei Model in Human Geography terms. It is the hub of South Africa's commercial, financial, industrial, and mining undertakings. Johannesburg is part of a larger urban region. It is closely linked with several other satellite towns. Randburgmarker and Sandtonmarker form part of the northern area. The east and west ridges spread out from central Johannesburg. The Central Business District covers an area of 6 square kilometres. It consists of closely packed skyscrapers such as the Carlton Centremarker, Marble Towers, Trust Bank Building, Ponte City Apartmentsmarker, Southern Life Centre and 11 Diagonal Streetmarker.


Johannesburg is home to some of Africa's tallest structures, such as the Sentech Towermarker, Hillbrow Towermarker and the Carlton Centremarker. The Johannesburg city skyline has most of the tallest buildings on the continent and contains most international organisations such as IBM, Absa, BHP Billiton, Willis Group, First National Bank, Nedbank and Standard Bank. Many of the city's older buildings have been pulled down and more modern ones built in their place. North of the CBD is Hillbrowmarker, the most densely populated residential area in southern Africa. Northwest of the CBD is Braamfonteinmarker, a secondary CBD housing many offices and business premises.

Parks and gardens

Parks and gardens in Johannesburg are maintained by Johannesburg City Parks. They are also responsible for maintaining and planting the millions of trees in Johannesburg.

Johannesburg Botanical Garden, located in the suburb of Emmarentia, is a popular recreational park.

Residential Areas

Johannesburg's residential areas range from luxurious, wooded suburbs, to shanty towns and squatter settlements. Alexandra, a township northeast of the city centre, is home to about 125,000 people. It was established by workers who migrated from rural areas in the late 1930s. Since the 1980s, large numbers of people have moved to Johannesburg in search of work. A lack of housing in the city has forced many to set up squatter settlements on the outskirts of the city. Most of these communities lack electricity and running water, and residents live in makeshift shacks made of scrap metal,board, and other discarded materials. In some settlements, such as Phola Park south of Johannesburg, town planners have attempted to build streets and provide residents with basic needs.


Johannesburg is one of the world's leading financial centres and it is the economic and financial hub of South Africa, producing 16% of South Africa's gross domestic product, and accounts for 40% of Gauteng's economic activity. In a 2007 survey conducted by MasterCard, Johannesburg ranked 47 out of 50 top cities in the world as a worldwide centre of commerce (the only city in Africa) .

Mining was the foundation of the Witwatersrandmarker's economy, but its importance is gradually declining due to dwindling reserves and service and manufacturing industries have become more significant to the city's economy. While gold mining no longer takes place within the city limits, most mining companies still have their headquarters in Johannesburg. The city's manufacturing industries extend across a range of areas and there is still a reliance on heavy industries including steel and cement plants. The service and other industries include banking, IT, real estate, transport, broadcast and print media, private health care, transport and a vibrant leisure and consumer retail market. Johannesburg has Africa's largest stock exchange, the JSE although it has moved out of the central business district. Due to its commercial role, the city is the seat of the provincial government and the site of a number of government branch offices, as well as consular offices and other institutions.There is also a significant informal economy consisting of cash-only street traders and vendors. The level of this economic activity is difficult to track in official statistics and it supports a sector of the population including immigrants who are not in formal employment. However, it is clear that the informal economy operating in Johannesburg is certainly one of the biggest in the world.

The Witwatersrand urban complex is a major consumer of water in a dry region. Its continued economic and population growth has depended on schemes to divert water from other regions of South Africa and from the highlands of Lesothomarker, the biggest of which is the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, but additional sources will be needed early in the 21st century.

The container terminal at City Deep is known to be the largest "dry port" in the world, with some 60% of cargo that arrives through the port of Durbanmarker and Cape Townmarker arriving in Johannesburg. The City Deep area has been declared an IDZ (industrial development zone) by the Gauteng government, as part of the Blue IQ Project.


Johannesburg's largest shopping centre is Sandton Citymarker, while Hyde Park is one of its most prestigious. Other centres include Rosebank, Eastgatemarker, Westgate, Northgate, Southgate, The Glen Shopping centre, Johannesburg South, and Crestamarker. There are also plans to build a large shopping centre, known as the Zonk'Izizwe Shopping Resort, in Midrandmarker. "Zonk'Izizwe" means "All Nations" in Zulu language, indicating that the centre will cater to the city's diverse mix of peoples and races. Also a complex named Greenstone in Modderfontein has been opened and is intended to become the largest shopping complex in the southern hemisphere.

Communications and media

The city is home to several media groups which own a number of newspaper and magazine titles. The two main print media groups are Independent Newspapers and Naspers (Media24). The electronic media is also headquartered in the greater metropolitan region. Beeld is a leading Afrikaans newspaper for the city and the country , while the City Press is a Sunday newspaper that is the third largest selling newspaper in South Africa . The Sowetan is one of a number of titles catering for the black market although in recent years it competes against newly arrived tabloids. The Mail & Guardian is an investigative liberal newspaper while The Citizen is a tabloid-style paper, and The Star is a local newspaper that mostly covers Gautengmarker-related issues. The Sunday Times is the most widely read national Sunday newspaper . True Love is the most widely read women's magazine , catering primarily to the up and coming middle class black female market, published by Media 24. The Times is a national newspaper that covers current issues.

Media ownership is relatively complicated with a number of cross shareholdings which have been rationalised in recent years resulting in the movement of some ownership into the hands of black shareholders. This has been accompanied by a growth in black editorship and journalism.

Johannesburg has a number of regional radio stations such as YFM, Metro FM, Phalaphala FM, Talk Radio 702, Highveld Stereo, 5FM, UJ FM and Kaya FM and Classic FM. The number of radio stations has increased in recent years as the government sold off frequencies to private companies. Johannesburg is also the headquarters of state-owned broadcaster South African Broadcasting Corporation and pay broadcast network Multichoice which distributes M-Net and DStv a digital satellite service, while eTV also has a presence in the city. etv is the only other terrestrial broadcaster and it is free-to-air and funded by advertising revenue. The city has two television towers, the Hillbrow Towermarker and the Sentech Towermarker.

Johannesburg has 4 Major Cellular Telecommunisations operators: Vodacom, MTN Group, Cell C, and Virgin Mobile. Vodacom's Global Headquarters is located in Midrandmarker. It was formed in 1994, just after the South African Elections of 1994.


Kwaito is the musical genre from Johannesburg that is considered to be the post-struggle (post-apartheid) music of choice by South African youth. Some consider Kwaito to be apolitical dance music because the same lyrics are typically repeated throughout the entire song and are placed over the rhythms and beats of House music.

Kwaito has touched more than the music scene in South Africa. In recent years, it has become deeply embedded in young South African culture because it represents "the streets", street life, and the people who live there. As Grant Clark notes after his trip to Johannesburg, "Kwaito has evolved its own street style. It's not just music, it's the way you walk, talk, dance, and of course, dress."


Johannesburg's suburbs are the product of extensive urban sprawl and are regionalised into north, south, east and west, and they generally have different personalities. While the Central Business Districtmarker and the immediate surrounding areas were formerly desirable living areas, the spatial accommodation of the suburbs has tended to see a flight from the city and immediate surrounds. The inner city buildings have been let out to the lower income groups and illegal immigrants and as a result abandoned buildings and crime have become a feature of inner city life. The immediate city suburbs include Yeovillemarker, a hot spot for black nightlife despite its otherwise poor reputation. The suburbs to the south of the city are mainly blue collar neighbourhoods and situated closer to some townships. The suburbs to the west have in recent years floundered with the decline of the mining industry but have in some cases experienced some revival with properties being bought up by the black middle class. The biggest sprawl lies to the east and north. The eastern suburbs are relatively prosperous and close to various industrial zones. The northern suburbs have been the recipient of most of the flight from the inner city and some residential areas have become commercialised particularly around the area of Sandton, stretching north towards Midrand, a half way point between Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria.

Traditionally the northern and northwestern suburbs have been the centre for the wealthy, containing the high-end retail shops as well as several upper-class residential areas such as Hyde Park, Sandhurst, Northcliff and Houghtonmarker, where Nelson Mandela makes his home. The northwestern area in particular is vibrant and lively, with the mostly-black suburb of Sophiatownmarker once centre of political activity and the Bohemian-flavoured Melvillemarker featuring restaurants and nightlife. Auckland Parkmarker is home to the headquarters of the South African Broadcasting Corporation, AFDA (The South African School of Motion Picture and Live Performance) and the University of Johannesburgmarker.

To the southwest of the City Centre is Sowetomarker, a mostly black urban area constructed during the apartheid regime specifically for housing African people who were then living in areas designated by the government for white settlement.

To the south of Johannesburg is Lenasiamarker, a mostly Asian area which was constructed during the Apartheid era specifically to house Asians. It is closer to the city centre and smaller than Soweto.


See also: :Category:Visitor attractions in Johannesburg

Image from the Central Business district of Johannesburg
Johannesburg region map with names.
One of the numerous skyscrapers of the city.
Johannesburg has not traditionally been known as a tourist destination, but the city is a transit point for connecting flights to Cape Townmarker, Durbanmarker, and the Kruger National Parkmarker. Consequently, most international visitors to South Africa pass through Johannesburg at least once, which has led to the development of more attractions for tourists. Recent additions have centred around history museums, such as the Apartheid Museummarker and the Hector Pieterson Museum. Gold Reef Citymarker, a large amusement park to the south of the Central Business District, is also a large draw for tourists in the city. The Johannesburg Zoomarker is also one of the largest in South Africa.

The city also has several art museums, such as the Johannesburg Art Gallery, which featured South African and European landscape and figurative paintings. The Museum Africa covers the history of the city of Johannesburg, as well as housing a large collection of rock art. The Market Theatremarker complex attained notoriety in the 1970s and 1980s by staging anti-apartheid plays, and has now become a centre for modern South African playwriting. The Johannesburg Civic Theatre is South Africa's foremost "receiving house" of live entertainment - presenting world class theatre, both local and international [9315].

There is also a large industry around visiting former townships, such as Sowetomarker and Alexandramarker. Most visitors to Soweto go to see the Mandela Museum, which is located in the former home of Nelson Mandela.

The Cradle of Humankindmarker [9316] a UNESCO World Heritage Site is to the northwest of the city. The Sterkfonteinmarker fossil site is famous for being the world's richest hominid site and produced the first adult Australopithecus africanus and the first near-complete skeleton of an early Australopithecine. Other attractions in this area include the Lesedi Cultural Villagemarker, while Magaliesburgmarker and the Hartbeespoort Dammarker are popular weekend (and holiday) destinations for Johannesburg residents.

The Suburbs of Melvillemarker, Newtown, Parkhurstmarker, Norwoodmarker and Greenside are popular for their bohemian atmosphere, street life, and many restaurants and bars.

Sports teams and stadiums

Johannesburg's most popular sports by participation are association football, cricket, rugby union, and running. The Lions, formerly the Cats, represent Johannesburg, North West and Mpumalangamarker in the Southern Hemisphere's Super 14 Rugby Competition, which includes teams from South Africa, Australia, and New Zealandmarker.

Cricket is one of the more popular sports. In cricket, the Highveld Lions represent Johannesburg, the rest of Gauteng as well as the North West Province at the Wanderers Stadiummarker which was the venue for the 2003 Cricket World Cup Final in which Australia successfully defended their title. Wanderers Stadium hosted what many cricket fans consider the greatest ever ODI match in which South Africa successfully chased down 434 runs. They take part in the first class SuperSport Series, the one-day MTN Domestic Championship and the Twenty20 Standard Bank Pro 20 Series.

Johannesburg also hosted matches from and the final of the ICC World Twenty20. in which India beat Pakistan in the final.
Early each Sunday morning, tens of thousands of runners gather to take part in informal runs organised by several athletic clubs. The city has several football clubs in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and the First Division. In the PSL, the top Johannesburg teams are all fierce rivals and include Kaizer Chiefs (also known as the Amakhosi), Orlando Pirates (also known as the Buccaneers) and Moroka Swallows, based at the city's Johannesburgmarker, Randmarker, and FNB stadiumsmarker respectively. Witwatersrand University, nicknamed the Clever Boys, who have a player membership of over 1,500, one of the world's largest are also part of the premier league. First Division teams include Katlehong City and Alexandra United, who play at Alexandramarker and Reiger Park stadia respectively


Johannesburg, much like Los Angelesmarker, is a young and sprawling city geared towards private motorists, and lacks a convenient public transportation system. A significant number of the city's residents are dependent on the city's informal minibus taxis.


OR Tambo International Airport Terminal B
is served by OR Tambo International Airportmarker (formerly Johannesburg International Airport) for both domestic and international flights. Other airports include Rand Airportmarker, Grand Central Airportmarker, and Lanseriamarker. Rand Airport, located in Germistonmarker, is a small airfield used mostly for private aircraft and the home of South African Airways's first Boeing 747 Classic, the Lebombo, which is now an aviation museum. Grand Central is located in Midrand and also caters to small, private aircraft. Lanseria Airportmarker is used for commercial flights to Cape Townmarker, Durbanmarker, Port Elizabethmarker, Botswanamarker, and Sun Citymarker.


The fact that Johannesburg is not near a large navigable body of water has meant that ground transportation has been the most important method of transporting people and goods in and out of the city. One of Africa's most famous "beltways" or ring roads/orbitals is the Johannesburg Ring Road. The road is composed of three freeways that converge on the city, forming an loop around it: the N3 Eastern Bypass, which links Johannesburg with Durbanmarker; the N1 Western Bypass, which links Johannesburg with Pretoriamarker and Cape Townmarker; and the N12 Southern Bypass, which links Johannesburg with Witbankmarker and Kimberleymarker. The N3 was built exclusively with asphalt, while the N12 and N1 sections were made with concrete, hence the nickname given to the N1 Western Bypass, "The Concrete Highway". In spite of being up to 12 lanes wide in some areas (6 lanes in either direction), the Johannesburg Ring Road is frequently clogged with traffic. The Gillooly's Interchange, built on an old farm and the point at which the N3 Eastern Bypass and the R24 Airport Freeway intersect, is the busiest interchange in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also claimed that the N1 is the busiest road in South Africa.

Johannesburg has the most freeways connected to it. It has the N1, N3, N12, N14, N17, R21, R24 and the R59, all leading to Johannesburg. The M1 and M2 freeways were built to direct traffic towards the city centre. These two freeways are congested due to mass urbanisation.


A full minibus taxi.
Johannesburg has two kinds of taxis, metered taxis and minibus taxis. Unlike many cities, metered taxis are not allowed to drive around the city looking for passengers and instead must be called and ordered to a destination. The Gauteng Provincial Government has launched a new metered taxi programme in an attempt to increase use of metered taxis in the city.

The minibus "taxis" are the de facto standard and essential form of transport for the majority of the population. Since the 1980s The minibus taxi industry has been severely affected by turf wars.

Mass transit

Johannesburg's metro railway system connects central Johannesburg to Sowetomarker, Pretoriamarker, and most of the satellite towns along the Witwatersrandmarker. The railways transport huge numbers of workers everyday. However, the railway infrastructure was built in Johannesburg's infancy and covers only the older areas in the city's south. The northern areas, including the business districts of Sandtonmarker, Midrandmarker, Randburgmarker, and Rosebankmarker, currently lack rail infrastructure.


A part of the Gauteng Provincial Government's Blue IQ Project, Gautrain has made provision for the creation of a rapid rail link, running north to south, between Johannesburg and Pretoria, and west to east between Sandton and Johannesburg International Airportmarker. Construction of the Gautrain Rapid Rail started in October 2006 and will be completed by 2011. It will consist of a number of underground stations, as well as above ground stations. Stations on the northern line include Johannesburg's Park Station, Rosebank, Sandtonmarker, Midrandmarker and Pretoriamarker. There will also be a line from the OR Tambo International Airportmarker traveling to Sandton.

The east-west line from the airport to Sandton is planned to be operational in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in June 2010.

The rail system is being designed to alleviate traffic on the N1 freeway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, which records vehicle loads of up to 300,000 per day. . An extensive bus feeder system is also being implemented, which will allow access to the main stations from the outer suburbs. This will be the first new railway system that has been laid in South Africa since 1977. .


Johannesburg is served by a bus fleet operated by Metrobus, a corporate unit of the City of Johannesburg. It has a fleet consisting of approximately 550 single and double-decker buses, plying 84 different routes in the city. This total includes 200 modern buses (150 double-deckers and 50 single-deckers), made by Volvo and Marcopolo/Brasa in 2002. Metrobus' fleet carries approximately 20 million passengers per annum. In addition there are a number of private bus operators, though most focus on the inter-city routes, or on bus charters for touring groups. The City's main bus terminus is situated in Gandhi Square, where passengers can also obtain information regarding the Metrobus service from the walk-in customer information desk.

PUTCO also operated buss routes in and around the city.

Rea Vaya - Bus Rapid Transit

Rea Vaya started its Starter Service to the public on the 31st of August 2009. This starter service includes a Trunk Route (Thokoza Part to Ellis Park) and two inner city loops.


Trunk Route - R5.00

Inner City Route - R3.00

Tickets are valid for 2 hrs and allow any number of transfers.

The City of Johannesburg has completed construction on its new Phase 1A Bus Rapid Transit system. The BRT project, titled Rea Vaya (We are moving), aims to rid the city's roads of congestion and promote safe, efficient and reliable public transport. It will run seven days a week, from 05h00 until midnight. Bus frequencies will be between two and five minutes during peak hours, and seven and ten minutes during the off-peak. The system will operate on main roads throughout the city, running down designated median lanes. Rea Vaya will also offer additional, smaller feeder-buses to areas around each BRT station to ensure speedy connections from homes to main routes. The BRT stations will be located every 500m along each BRT route, offering ticket vending machines and live travel information. Larger BRT stations will also offer sales kiosks, bathrooms and park and ride facilities. The BRT system has been designed with other transport modes in mind, so as to ensure a smooth change from various transportation options - particularly with the Gautrain. The first phase of the BRT is intended to be up and running in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Rea Vaya Website

Education and Culture

Johannesburg has a well-developed higher education system of both private and public universities. Johannesburg is served by the public universities University of the Witwatersrandmarker and the University of Johannesburgmarker.

University of Johannesburgmarker was formed on 1 January 2005 when three separate universities and campuses—Rand Afrikaans Universitymarker, Technikon Witwatersrand, and the Johannesburg campuses of Vista University—were merged. The new university offers education primarily in English and Afrikaans, although courses may be taken in any of South Africa's official languages.

The University of the Witwatersrandmarker is one of the leading universities in South Africa, and is famous as a centre of resistance to apartheid.

Private universities include Monash University, which has one of its eight campuses in Johannesburg (six of the other campuses are in Australia, while the eighth is in Malaysiamarker), and Midrand Graduate Institute which is located in Midrand.

Johannesburg also boasts one of the finest film schools in the world; winning amongst others the Academy Award's Oscar for Best Foreign Student Film in 2006. The South African School of Motion Picture and Live Performance, or AFDA for short, is situated in Auckland Park.

Johannesburg also has three teacher-training colleges and a technical college. There are numerous kindergartens, primary schools and high schools in the region. Libraries, art galleries and museums are plentiful. One of them is MuseumAfrica, located in the CBD. Specialist museums cover subjects such as Africana, costume, design, fossils, geology, military history, medical, pharmacy, photography and transportation networks such as railways. Gold Reef Citymarker, a living museum, was originally part of the Crown Mines Complex, where gold was mined to a depth of . The Market Theatre stages plays, comedy shows, and musical performances. The Civic Theatre complex hosts drama, opera and ballet.
The Giant Wheel, a ferris wheel found at Gold Reef City

Museums in Johannesburg

The Following is a list of all the museums in Johannesburg.

AECI Dynamite Factory Museum

The AECI Dynamite Factory Museum, housed in the 1895 residence of a mining official, records the history of explosives, with particular emphasis on their use in the mining industry. It also provides a social commentary and insight into the part played by some of the world famous figures who helped shape the destiny of southern Africa.

Adler Museum of Medicine

History of Medicine, brainchild of Dr Cyril Adler, was formally inaugurated 1962. The Museum's role was to collect and preserve for posterity all material that would illustrate the History of medicine in general and of South Africa in particular.

Apartheid museum

Constitution Hill

Constitution Hill is the home of the Constitutional Court, but also the site of Johannesburg’s notorious Old Fort Prison Complex, commonly known as Number Four, where thousands of ordinary people were brutally punished before the dawn of democracy in 1994. Many of South Africa’s leading political activists, including Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, were detained here.

Hector Peterson Museum

The Hector Peterson Museum in Soweto commemorates the 566 people who died in the student uprising that followed the events of 16 June 1976. The museum is named for Hector Peterson, a 12-year-old boy who was the first person shot dead by police on that day, and is located near a memorial to his death.

James Hall Transport Museum

The James Hall museum of Transport is the largest and most comprehensive museum of land transport in South Africa. It was established by the late Jimmie Hall together with the City of Johannesburg in February 1964.

Madiba Freedom Museum

Named after the former President Mandela's clan. The museums theme is Mzabalazo and charts South Africa's journey to democracy.

Museum Africa

You step into the typical 1950s shebeen at Museum Africa in Newtown, down town Johannesburg, and an automatic motion monitor churns out a Marabi tune. Such exhibits, laying bare, as they do, the heart and soul of inner city Johannesburg, make a trip to the museum a worthwhile experience.

Origins Centre Museum

Located on the campus of the University of the Witwatersrandmarker in Braamfonteinmarker, this museum contains some excellent examples of southern African rock art.

Bernberg Fashion Museum

Bernberg Fashion Museum is a primarily a museum collection, consisting of objects, and explains why and how clothing has changed and how the fashions of the past influence those of today.

South African National Museum of Military History

It is the only museum of its kind in South Africa and provides a nucleus of Museum and military history expertise in southern Africa. At the Museum you can see all types of guns, tanks, armoured cars, aircraft and naval hardware, including a midget submarine called the Molch used by the Germans in the Second World War (1939 - 1945).

Zoology Museum

The Zoology Museum is the only natural history museum in Johannesburg which is unusual since all the other major cities in South Africa have large public natural history museums. It has retained a unique character as the display specimens are exhibited in finely crafted teak cabinets which allow the viewer to engage directly with scores of objects at close range.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Johannesburg's sister cities are:

Country City

Addis Ababamarker
New York Citymarker

See also


  1. Principal Agglomerations of the World
  2. GaWC Research Bulletin 5, GaWC, Loughborough University, 28 July 1999
  4. [1], IOL - Joburg Surveillance Zooms In, .
  5. Drop in serious crime in Jo'burg, Mail & Guardian Online, .
  6. [2], - Joburg's residential projects are supporting an acceleration of the rejuvenation effort , .
  7. Press Release 6 August 2006, City of Johannesburg is calling for Internal Branding Advice from Global Gurus.
  8. Jozi's urban forest now at trees, and growing by Lucille Davie, .
  9. Joburg advertises its successes by Ndaba Dlamini, .
  14. Clark, Grant. "Kwaito: The Voice of Youth." From BBC World Service "Rhythms of the Continent: South Africa".
  15. [3], 23 May 2006


  • Early Johannesburg, Its Buildings and People. Hannes Meiring, Human & Rousseau. 1986. 143 pages. ISBN 0-7981-1456-8
  • Gold! Gold! Gold! The Johannesburg Gold Rush. Eric Rosenthal, AD. Donker, 1970, ISBN 0-949937-64-9
  • Johannesburg: The Elusive Metropolis. Sarah Nuttall. Duke University Press. 9 January 2005. 210 pages. ISBN 0-8223-6610-X.
  • The Corner House: The Early History of Johannesburg. Alan Patrick Cartwright. MacDonald. 1965. 293 pages.

External links



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