Gauteng: Johannesburg

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Johannesburg is the heartbeat of South Africa, build on gold. It is only a 40km drive from Centurion, we will leave after breakfast and head for Johannesburg, just after the morning business traffic.
Johannesburg owes its existence to the discovery of gold by a penniless prospector, George Harrison in 1886. It is named after Johann Rissik and Johannes Joubert, chief of mining and member of the Volksraad. It is the only city of its size in the world, not developed next to a river or the sea.

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Some of the Historical Monuments, buildings and places we can visit include:
• Constitutional Hill is a living museum that tells the story of South Africa’s journey to democracy. This site is a former prison and military fort, that bears testament of South Africa’s turbulent past, and today is home of the countries constitutional court, which endorses the rights of all citizens. Nelson Mandela (cell no 46664), Mahatma Gandhi, Jo Slovo, Albertina Sisulu, is just a few names of world known people that was held here.
• The N.Z.A.S.M Locomotive, displayed at the Johannesburg Station. This locomotive operated on the first railway line between Braanfontein and Boksburg between 1890 and 1903, known as the “Rand Tram.”
• The Diaz Cross: The remarkable historic relic stands in the University of the Witwatersrand. Bartholomew Diaz erected this cross on 12 March 1488 near the mouth of the Bushmans river.
• The Suburb of Sophiatown, where Africans fully owned land and therefor became the special target of apartheid law enforcers in the 1960’s who wanted to enforce the group areas act. The vibrant cultures that grew here during the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s, were smashed by bulldozers to enforce this law in the 1960’s. A few of the oldest houses of the original Sophiatown still remains and can be visited.
• The gold claims of the discoverers of the Main Reef Group of Conglomerates of the Witwatersrand, on the farm Langlaagte. The dramatic discovery of this rich gold-bearing deposits in 1886 was of the greatest importance in the history of South Africa.
• Historic and important buildings and Streets in the Johannesburg CBD we will visit include the Carlton Centre, Central News Agency (CAN), The Rand club, the Standard Bank building, First National bank (the corner house) and the 1st & 2nd Stock exchange in Commissioner street; the Magistrates Courts, Anglo American, City Hall and the old Post office are just some other buildings we will visit.
• Lilliesleaf Farm Rivonia. In the 1960’s Rivonia was still a semi-rural area of scattered farms and smallholdings. A property was fronted by a white owner, who was sympathetic to the cause, and the house looked like a normal white owned property with people going in and out, but the “workers” and “gardeners” were actually some of the countries most wanted activists. The security police eventually got suspicious, a raid was planned, and many leaders of the movement, including Nelson Mandela was arrested here.
• Places of interest to visit include the Market Theatre, Museum Africa, the botanical gardens, the Johannesburg Zoological Gardens and Zoo lake, the war museum and war memorial and Gold Reef city.
• Gold Reef City, which is more than a museum. It is a reconstruction of history in living form. A visit to Gold Reef City will help to understand both South Africa’s past, as well as that of Johannesburg and SOWETO. Build on the site of, and incorporating the Gold mine museum, it is a living pioneer town with buildings which are replicas of the architecture and styles which grew from the mining camps. A key part of the Gold Reef City complex, is the mineshaft, which has been kept in working order so that visitors may descent to the rock face deep underground. This would not be possible in a normal operating mine, therefore this is a unique, safe, yet authentic place where you can learn about the Witwatersrand gold deposits