As Joburg celebrates its 135th birthday, we should pause for thought and reflect on what makes our city so remarkable! Johannesburg, Joburg, Egoli, Mjiba, Joeys or Jozi – it’s impossible not to marvel how fast this mighty metropolis sprang up on the Highveld plains in 1886 and has continued to play a pivotal role in our country’s history and economy.
At the ripe old age of 135, Johannesburg is one of the world’s youngest major cities, the only one not settled on a major waterway or bay – as well as being home to the world’s largest man-made forest and fabulous weather. These are just a few of the diverse features boasted by a city that some 5.9 million people call home.
“While Joburg is the African continent’s business hub and the fastest growing and developing metropolitan centre, what is often overlooked, by residents and visitors alike – is its appeal as a fascinating destination,” says Cllr Tom Mofokeng, MMC for the Department of Economic Development, City of Johannesburg.
“Joburg retains the boomtown spirit of diversity, hustle and possibility, as it did when it sprang to life when the world’s richest gold reef was discovered here in 1886. The establishment of a riotous tented mining camp on the dusty savannah plains where we now stand, was followed by rapid, pioneering developments and advancements which have never ceased – to the phenomenal, pacy City of today. As Joburg Tourism and in line with our #Welcome2Joburg campaign, we’re passionate about and dedicated to showcasing its vigorous charm to both locals and visitors. We work to foster an increase in knowledge, civic pride and a growth in tourism awareness, whilst also encouraging locals and visitors just to get out and about and to enjoy exploring the cultural, heritage and hidden gems of Joburg.”
Inspite of Joburg’s youthfulness in global city terms, it is undeniably a treasure trove of economic, social, political and anthropological history. The City boasts layer upon layer of fascinating history, development and human interest stories – of course not forgetting the leisure and lifestyle aspects of entertainment, sports, music, fashion, the arts and culture.
Urban tourism has come into its own in Johannesburg, with the City seeing an increasing number of visitors keen to explore diverse aspects of the City – from all the exciting inner city rejuvenation precincts to the established heritage routes and sites in Alex and Soweto. This includes the development of public street art, pedestrianised zones, heritage sites and lifestyle activities like the popular weekend markets.
Surprising beautiful and always bold, Joburg packs a punch. “We’ve got everything in Joburg and plenty of it – fashion, nightlife, theatre, fine art, shopping, sport, entertainment, tourist and heritage sites, diverse cuisine and cultural experiences,” says Mofokeng.