Joburg History Tour
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Affectionately dubbed Jozi, Johannesburg is a young, vibrant and exciting city which showcases the best that South Africa’s urban culture has to offer:
Joburg History Tour
Built on the wealth of the gold beneath its streets, the remarkable city of Johannesburg mushroomed from nothing to a modern metropolis in just over a century. There are wonderful restaurants, fascinating township tours, fantastic shopping opportunities, and the chance of exciting excursions to such diverse attractions as glitzy casinos, game parks and prehistoric fossil fields. The city illustrates the desperate inequality that characterises South African society, and the combination of palatial homes in glamorous suburbs and sprawling shanty towns is interesting and challenging for visitors. Johannesburg is a proud city and some of the most exciting of the city’s attractions can be found in the ‘township’ areas where creativity and innovation manage to triumph over poverty. Johannesburg is also a good place to learn about South Africa’s Apartheid history, with some great museums and tours dedicated to the subject.
Johannesburg was initially controlled from Pretoria, the government capital of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republijk ZAR, or Transvaal Republic. The town was initially a small prospecting settlement to which people flocked from all regions of the country and the world, including such as the United Kingdom, Europe and North America.
After the National Party took power in 1948, it instituted the Group Areas Act and forcibly moved black population groups out of inner Johannesburg areas, such as Sophiatown, to the newly developed Soweto, a name derived from South West Townships. Today the city of Soweto has more than 1 million inhabitants. It has shopping malls, clinics and the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, the largest acute care hospital in the world, which serves ±1.5 million people and provides specialist treatment to the country as well as to surrounding African states.
One of the most famous victims of the 1976 Soweto march, Hector Pieterson, was commemorated with a large Museum dedicated to his memory, in Soweto.
Today, Johannesburg suburbs are integrated and multiracial. Inner city crime and neglect have resulted in the large-scale migration of businesses and commerce away from the Central Business District to the more affluent northern suburbs such as Houghton and Parktown, and to northern cities such as Sandton, Midrand and Pretoria (white flight).