Established in the late 1800s after gold was discovered in the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg is South Africa’s main commercial hub and often regarded as Africa’s economic capital.
The bustling City of Gold – or Egoli – is a melting pot of cultures, with people from across the country and further afield attracted to the work and other opportunities it offers.
There is a lot to see and plenty to do in Johannesburg. One of most important sites to visit is Constitution Hill in Braamfontein, housing the country’s Constitutional Court and a historic prison complex – now museums – comprising the Old Fort, the Women’s Jail and Number Four.
Among the political struggle heroes to have been incarcerated here are Nelson Mandela, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Joe Slovo, Albertina Sisulu and Fatima Meer. Just a few minutes from the Johannesburg central business district, the Apartheid Museum provides a moving account of South Africa’s troubled past under the system of racial segregation and its transition from apartheid to democracy. Multimedia exhibitions, video footage, pictures and artefacts are used to educate visitors about the country’s painful journey to become a united nation. Don’t leave Johannesburg without visiting this complex.
Head to the leafy northern suburbs of Johannesburg to visit Liliesleaf Farm, the former secret headquarters of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the African National Congress. In 1963, a raid by security forces and the arrests of a number of high-profile activists led to the infamous Rivonia Trial. Visitors have the option of self-guided, guided and educational tours at the site.
Sprawling Soweto township on the south west of Johannesburg is arguably the world’s most famous township. . Vilakazi Street used to be home to two Nobel Peace Prize winners: Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Visit the Mandela House Museum where the late former president used to live and the nearby Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum, commemorating the 1976 Soweto Uprisings.
There is also a string of restaurants on Vilakazi Street, offering African and other cuisine and local beer. Explore the area, buy some local crafts and enjoy homegrown entertainment.
The celebrated FNB Stadium in the shape of an African calabash is a dominating feature of Soweto. Known as Soccer City during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the stadium is an uplifting part of the country’s history. The opening ceremony and first game of the first soccer World Cup hosted on African soil took place here.
For a great vibe, art, food and entertainment, don’t miss a visit to the trendy Maboneng Precinct in the city centre. Another trendy destination is the cool Neighbourgoods Market, open on Saturdays and always drawing crowds.
Book your ticket to visit the City of Gold at www.flymango.com.