Johannesburg or the City of Gold, as the city is known in South Africa, is the business hub of South Africa, contributing a substantial part of the country's GDP approximately 12 per cent. The city is home to two of the country's most popular football teams and historical arch-rivals, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. Johannesburg is also known as the economic engine of Southern Africa and the trendsetter of South Africa. It is a melting pot laced with all the flavours of African cultures and beyond
Despite the hustle and bustle of the big city, Jo'burg is unexpectedly green and orientated towards outdoor living. It has a wealth of trees creating an 'urban forest', and many of the trees are located in the 2328 parks.
Cultural wealth is also in abundance, with a host of interesting museums including the Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill and the living memory of the South Western Townships, which include the world acclaimed Soweto. The Mai Mai Market is the oldest market in Johannesburg and is a great place to discover traditional remedies. But more than that, Johannesburg has become a truly African city, melding disparate people from across the continent with the descendents of the original Tswana and Ndebele inhabitants and the European, Indian and Chinese settlers.
Today descendents of immigrants from around the world call themselves Joburgers and they are added to daily by a continual stream of migrants, keen to have some of the city's shine rub off on them.
The Tswana name for Johannesburg is eGoli, a place of gold. The San and Stone Age people were the first inhabitants of the area. The face of the area changed when an Australian gold prospector generated interest in the mineral wealth beneath the surface. Johannesburg became a city in 1886, during the beginning of the Witwatersrand Gold Rush.
The city also became a political hotspot during the apartheid years. Soweto was an important instrument in the liberation of South Africa. In 1955, many anti-apartheid movements met in Kliptown, Soweto to sign the Freedom Charter. The Charter enshrined the belief in equality for all. It also became the working document for the current Constitution of South Africa.
A heartland of South African football, Johannesburg is the backbone of the professional game. The majority of professional clubs come from the city and its surrounds. The professional football outfits from the city are: Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Jomo Cosmos, BidVest Wits and one of the oldest clubs in the country, Moroka Swallows.
The city centre has been at the core of football development in South Africa. Professional football was formed in the offices of the old Rand Daily Mail newspaper in 1958. In later years, football unity talks took place at the old Rand International Hotel. Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Jomo Cosmos and the now defunct Highlands Park, Rangers and Lusitano have all been championship-winning clubs.
A match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, which is dubbed as the ‘Soweto Derby' in South Africa, is the biggest drawcard in the country. Everytime the two meet, they attract a capacity crowd and their rivarly has been well documented throughout the decades.
Jo'burg is home to some of the country's most prized talent that include, Jomo Sono, Kaizer Motaung, Ace Ntsoelengoe, Doctor Khumalo, Lucas Radebe and many others. Sono played with Pele and Franz Beckenbauer at New York Cosmos.
Ntsoelengoe is revered as one of the greatest football players ever to be produced in South African football. He enjoyed immense success in the NASL.
The Premier League-based Wits University (now called BidVest Wit) are a team based at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Due to their location, the team is affectionately known as the 'Clever Boys' or the ‘Students'.
Johanesburg has hosted major games before including the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, which was won by South Africa beating Tunisia 2-0 at Soccer City. The Ellis Park Stadium, situated in the heart of Johannesburg, hosted the historic 1995 Rugby World Cup where South Africa were crowned as the rugby world champions.