Johannesburg, South Africa

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Johannesburg is South Africa’s chief financial and industrial city. It is located in Gauteng Province about 65 km south of Pretoria, on the Highveld at 1,735 m above sea level.


Johannesburg thrived on the discovery of gold by Pieter Jacob Marais in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The city sits upon the Witwatersrand, a string of rocky ridges that have a large stratum of gold running through them. The locals call Johannesburg ‘City of Gold’; Gauteng itself is a Sotho word meaning ‘place of gold.’ Earlier, the high plateau was inhabited by Boer farmers, grazing cattle and cultivating wheat and maize. The jobs and wealth the mines generated made Johannesburg the country’s largest and most prosperous city. Much of that growth is on the city’s outskirts, where the unemployed rural black population came in search of jobs and established townships. The most famous of these grew into Soweto, an acronym for ‘South-Western Townships’.

The discovery of gold...

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