Name: Johannesburg, also referred to as Jozi, Joburg or Egoli (place of Gold)
Province: Gauteng Province
Map: Google Map
Population: 3,2 million
Geography: Located on the eastern high-lying plateau in South Africa referred to as the Highveld.
Climate: Dry with winter temperatures ranging from 24°-16°C. Summer is temperate with temperatures exceeding 30°C and afternoon thundershowers.
Key Economic Sectors: Retail, Finance
Professional Football Clubs: Bidvest Wits, Kaizer Chiefs, Moroka Swallows Orlando Pirates (Premier) FC AK, Jomo Cosmos (1st Division)
Stadium: Ellis Park Stadium & Soccer City Stadium
Place to See
Constitution Hill – Inspiring, impressive Constitution Hill is slowly becoming one of the city’s – if not the country’s – chief tourist attractions. Built within the ramparts of the Old Fort, which dates from 1892 and was once a notorious prison, the development focuses on South Africa’s new Constitutional Court. Ruling on constitutional and human-rights matters, the court itself is a very real symbol of the changing South Africa.
Johannesburg Art Gallery – On the Noord St side of Joubert Park (itself a no-go area) is the Johannesburg Art Gallery . This place has a reputable collection of European and South African landscape and figurative paintings, as well as a significant contemporary South African collection with more adventurous work such as multimedia installations. It also hosts large-scale, dynamic exhibitions and retrospectives of black artists.
Mandela Museum – The first stop on most tours is the Mandela Museum, just off Vilakazi St. Nelson Mandela shared this tiny home with his first wife, Evelyn, and it is filled with fascinating photographs and clutter. Among the exhibits is a letter from the State of Michigan asking George Bush Senior to apologise for the role the CIA played in Mandela’s 1962 arrest. Needless to say, it never did.
Nelson Mandela Bridge – Looming over Newtown is the Nelson Mandela Bridge. Officially opened by Nelson Mandela on 20 July 2003 (two days after his 85th birthday), the 295m, cable-stayed bridge is the longest of its kind in Southern Africa. It isn’t the most impressive structure in Jo’burg, but it is an enduring symbol of efforts to resurrect long-forgotten sections of the city and an ongoing source of pride.
Oppenheimer Tower – It was erected in gratitude to the Chairman of the Anglo-American Corporation, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, who in 1956 organised a loan from the Chamber of Mines to build 14,000 homes, improving living standards for thousands of Sowetans.
SAB Centenary Centre – It delves into that other great South African pursuit: beer drinking. It unlocks the secrets of the country’s brewing industries and there is a re-creation of a 1965 Soweto shebeen (unlicensed bar), which is all heavenly for appreciators of liquid amber.
Sci-Bono Discovery Centre – It includes a science museum and is a hands-on, interactive learning experience.
Telkom Joburg Tower – Crowned by the looming, 269m Telkom Tower, Hillbrow was once among the liveliest and most interesting suburbs in the city. It bore witness to the cracks opening in the shell of apartheid when it was designated the nation’s first ‘Grey Area’ – a zone where blacks and whites could live side by side. These days, however, it also has a reputation for very real lawlessness and a trip into its guts, without an extremely savvy guide, is not recommended.
Top of Africa – To view Jo’burg from on high, take the lift to the Top of Africa . The entrance is via a special lift one floor below street level.
Turbine Hall – Much of the area around Mary Fitzgerald Sq was once taken up by a giant power station. The huge Turbine Hall , next to SAB World of Beer, is one of the city’s more impressive buildings. The north boiler house was imploded in 2005 and now houses the impressive new headquarters of AngloGold Ashanti, beautifully developed to blend in with existing architecture. The south boiler house remains empty but is used for some wonderfully creative events. These developments were unveiled in 2008 and the area is now known as Turbine Sq.