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[edit] Introduction

Johannesburg, also referred to at Jozi and Joburg[1], is a city located on the northern side of South Africa. It is the capital city of the province of Gauteng[1], and has the largest population of any city in South Africa[1]. It is a city filled with culture due to the diversity of its population; the people that inhabit Johannesburg are from many areas within Africa, as well as other parts of the world, and therefore speak many different and unique languages[1]. Johannesburg is a unique world city through globalization, the politics behind its geography and society, population demographics and migration patterns, as well as the city's social and cultural geography.

[edit] Globalization

[edit] Manufacturing

Using a world systems approach South Africa, and therefore Johannesburg, is a semi-periphery country[2]. This means that Johannesburg has plenty of resources, but the city is exploited by the more powerful core regions of the world [2]. Gauteng exports over R-50 billion ($5.1 billion Canadian) annually[3]. Exports typically include technologies, furniture, and pharmaceutical products [3]. The South African government is part of many Free trade agreements[4] in order to move products to various countries in the world [2]. In terms of exporting products by air, the airport that serves Johannesburg is the Oliver Tambo International Airport, which nineteen million people visit annually[5] The city is also home to the fifth largest freight terminal in the world, which is heavily used to export products [6]. These large transportation networks also result in time-space compression in Johannesburg [2].

Oliver Tambo International Airport
Oliver Tambo International Airport[7]

[edit] Spectacle

World cities ensure that they pay attention to spectacle and the landscape and culture of the city in order to develop the city to increase its connection to the rest of the world[2]. An estimated 2.5 million vistors from around the world visit Johannesburg annually[8]. This highly visited city in South Africa relies on landscape, architecture, and history to bring in tourists [2], or in other words spectacle. The landscape in Johannesburg is largely devoted to nature and parks, as it is home to the largest amount of urban forests that have been built by humans throughout the world, and to the Brenthurst garden[9]. Johannesburg has quite a bit of distinctive architecture, including castles and the highest tower in the continent, the famous Hillbrow tower[9]. Historic sites, including Constitution Hill, Soweto, and various museums, are also plentiful due to the rich history of Johannesburg and the apartheid [9].

[edit] Global Relations

After the Apartheid, the first local democratic election was held in Johannesburg in 1994[10]. Since 1999 and the Igoli 2002, the city has become successful in solving financial and budget issues in order to create a thriving, business-oriented city[10]. City revitalization and economic plans have also included a focus on property, particularly for commercial areas [10]. Since 1996, education levels of residents have been rising, however there is still a lack of skilled labour in the city[10]. Because of the increase in quality of life in Johannesburg since 1994, there is a significant migration of people into the city[10]. All of these changes in the city have made Johannesburg South Africa’s financial center and have brought the city into the world system and globalization[10]. Johannesburg has or has had relationships with various other countries and cities, including Windhoek, London, New York, and Birmingham[11]. In terms of London and New York, Johanesburg was working with these cities in preparation for hosting part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which brought over 309,000 tourists from around the world into the country[12]. Johannesburg is also the leading area in terms of financial contribution to South Africa’s GDP[10]

[edit] Political Geography

[edit] National Government

South Africa has a federal system of government, as it has a national government[13]and nine provincial governments[14]. Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma was elected as President of the Republic of South Africa in 2009[15]. The country uses a National Assembly of 350-400 people to who are elected through a democratic vote[16]. In addition, since 1997, there is a National Council of Provinces which is made up largely of people from each province in order to adequately represent the interests of the various provinces at the national level of the South African government[16]. The national government encourages the public to participate in the government at the national level through visiting parliament or leaving feedback for the government[16].

[edit] Provincial Government

There are nine provincial governments in the country[14] Prior to the apartheid, South Africa only had four provinces [14]. The city of Johannesburg is the capital of the province of Gauteng[14].

[edit] Provinces in South Africa[14]

  • Northern Cape
  • Western Cape Cape
  • Eastern Cape
  • The Free State
  • Gauteng
  • North West
  • Mpualanga
  • KwaZulu-Natal
  • Limpopo

[edit] Municipal Government

Regions in Johannesburg
Regions in Johannesburg[17]

There are seven regions (A-G) within Johannesburg[18], with each region largely contributing to a sector of the city, such as manufacturing[19]. The city of Johannesburg is one of eight metropolitan municipalities in the country[20]. Johannesburg uses an executive mayoral system[21]. Since 2011, the mayor of the city is Mpho Franklyn Tau[22]. Johannesburg has a mayoral committee of 10 people who overlook areas in the city such as residential housing and financial issues[22].

[edit] Nation

A nation is defined as people who share a language, ethnicity, or history with one another [2]. This is not the case with Johannesburg. The city is divided between the rich and poor and black residents and white residents [23]. Black residents make up 70% of those living in poverty and they primarily live in the south areas of the city or the far northern areas [23]. The wealthy in Johannesburg are largely white citizens who live in the center and north of the city where there are better services [23]. The apartheid, racism, and class is in large part responsible for the segregation that still persists in Johannesburg[24].

[edit] National Anthem

South Africa’s national anthem is a mixture of the previous official anthem, Die Stem, and the previous unofficial anthem Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika[25]. The unofficial anthem was sung in resistance to the apartheid prior to it being dissolved[25]. The new anthem is for all of South Africa, including Johannesburg.

[edit] Anthem[25]

Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika/ Maluphakanyisw' uphondo lwayo/ Yizwa imithandazo yethu/ Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo/ Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso/ O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho/ O se boloke, O se boloke setjhaba sa heso/ Setjhaba sa South Afrika – South Afrika/ Uit die blou van onse hemel/ Uit die diepte van ons see/ Oor ons ewige gebergtes/ Waar die kranse antwoord gee/ Sounds the call to come together/ And united we shall stand/ Let us live and strive for freedom/ In South Africa our land.

[edit] Population

The population of Johannesburg in 2011 was 4,434,827 [26]. In 2010 the annual natural rate (RNI) of population growth increase in South Africa was 0.4% or less [2], specifically in Johannesburg from 2001-2011, the population growth was at 3.18% [26]. It is estimated that the population of Johannesburg will grow -.48% in 2014 [27]. A country's CBR (crude birth rate; number of births in a year per 1000 people) and CDR (crude death rate; number of deaths in a year per 1000 people) also reflect the population growth [2]. In 2011 South Africa's CBR was 15-24 people and the CDR was 13-17 people.

Infant mortality rate (IMR) of the world in 2009.
Infant mortality rate (IMR) of the world in 2009.[28]
Map of the average life expectancy at birth of the world in 2009.
Map of the average life expectancy at birth of the world in 2009.[29]

Infant mortality (IMR) and life expectancy rates are low in South Africa due to the diseases present and the lack of resources. The IMR of a country reflects the overall health of the society [2]. In 2009 South Africa had an infant mortality rate (death of babies during their first year of life [2]) between 25 and 50 [30]. The average life expectancy for South African citizens in 2009 was 0-50 years of age [2].

[edit] Key Statistics (2011)

2011 demographic statistics: [26]

Gender Percentage
Female 49.8%
Male 50.2%
Race Percentage
Black African 76.4%
White 12.3%
Coloured 5.6%
Indian/Asian 4.9%
  • 23.2% of the population is 0-14 years of age.
  • 72.2% of the population is 15-64 years of age
  • 4.1% of the population is over 65 years of age.
  • Arithmetic population density is 2696 persons/km2

The city of Johannesburg attracts these demographics because, unlike a lot of other South African cities, a high percentage of the population of Johannesburg has some formal eduction:

  • 33.6%- primary education
  • 30%- some secondary education
  • 20.8%- completed secondary education

Another attraction of Johannesburg are the employment opportunities:

  • 1, 696, 520 people are employed

[edit] Migration

Johannesburg's province, Gauteng, had the highest internal migration rate (movement within a nation [2] in South Africa between 1996 and 2001; over 430,000 people were internal migrants [31]. Census 2001 noted that 6.7% of Johannesburg's population were transnational migrants [31]. The internal migrants in South Africa that moved to Johannesburg mainly fell in the age range of 20-39 years. This is because this age group is the prime age to find work.

Although Africa is home to the majority of the world's refugees, South Africa/Johannesburg is home to very few [2]. Historically, in the 16th and 17th century, Africa had the highest forced migration rates in the world; this was due to the slave trade. The majority of slaves that were forced to migrate from Africa migrated to Central America and Brazil [2]. Today, the number of forced migrants in and/or out of Africa has decreased significantly.

[edit] Regional Migration Flow

In relation to regional migration flow, Johannesburg is an island of development (built up to attract foreign investment) within South Africa [2]. Being an island of development encouraged internal migration due to the job opportunities. Johannesburg is a key city that allows labour in from outside areas and produces some commodities to be sent around the world. The allowance of labour into Johannesburg allows for immigrants to send remittances (money that they send back to their family if they live in a different location) to their families [2].

[edit] Emigration and Immigration

Johannesburg, like most of South Africa, deals with a lot of emigration over immigration. Since 1994, the number of emigrants (people who left the city/country to move somewhere else) has doubled in comparison to the number of immigrants (people who migrate from another country to a new area; Johannesburg) [31]. However, due to the large population size of Johannesburg, the number of immigrants is still substantial; in 2006 there was approximately 550,000 immigrants in Johannesburg [32]. In 2007, 14.1% of the city's population was made up of immigrants [32]. A survey was conducted in 2007 discussed the characteristics and demographics of the immigrants of Johannesburg:

  • 20% of immigrants were unemployed
  • 44% of immigrants were self-employed
  • 41% lived in informal housing
  • 23% lived in formal townships
  • majority have a higher level of education than most in South Africa

[edit] Social Geography

[edit] Social Impact of Language

While the country is home to many Black Africans, the majority of the population speaks English. However, there are differences between English-speaking residents in Johannesburg and English-speaking residents in North America. The social way of talking, making speech, and slang differs within Johannesburg and other parts of the world; there are sayings in Johannesburg such as "South Africanisms" [33], that relate to social context within society that outsiders, such as Americans, would not understand.

[edit] Social Impact of Wealth

In 2013, Johannesburg was the city with the most millionaires in Africa; meaning Johannesburg is made up of many wealthy people[34]. In 2013, 23,400 millionaires lived in Johannesburg; nearly double the amount compared to the next city in Africa (Cairo, 12300)[34]. This affects social geography because the standards of living are different between people of different incomes. There are more people of higher class and therefore, there is a higher standard of living in certain areas. When the standard of living is higher, there is only a certain population of people that can afford to live that lifestyle. This leads to many people moving to these higher income places, adding to the amount of wealthy people in the city.

[edit] Social Impact of Medicine

Johannesburg has a respectable health care system[35]. They have both public and private hospitals[35], so patients can choose which one they want to go to. Public hospitals are primarily for the public to use without an extra cost. These tend to be much slower because there are many people in the city that use them. Private hospitals are faster, but require you to pay an extra fee. The doctors in Johannesburg and all of South Africa are highly respected across the world[35]. Foreigners often come to South Africa to get plastic surgery as the plastic surgeons are renowned[35]. This affects social standards because effective health care leads to fewer sick people, thus making the city healthy and lively.

[edit] Social Impact of Crime

Crime is also a part of Johannesburg. Johannesburg is one of the most dangerous cities in South Africa [36]. Crime has a large impact on the social standard of living. If the city is more dangerous then people will be more cautious or scared of going outside. People will stop going out at night in fear that they will be hurt or robbed. This changes the ways that people have social interactions with each other. People will be less trusting of strangers, feeling like they have the potential to be put in harms way.

[edit] Cultural Geography

Cultural geography is "The symbols and traditions of different ethnic and racial groups, religions, and cultures."[2]

[edit] Languages

When looking at the languages in Johannesburg it is noted that there are eleven different spoken languages, which are, 1. Afrikaans 2. English 3. Ndebele 4. Northern Sotho 5. Sotho 6. Swazi 7. Tsonga 8. Tiswana 9. Venda 10. Thosa 11. Zulu [37]

  • Most people in Johannesburg speak English and Afrikaans, which was replaced as the language of Dutch in 1925. [37]

[edit] Traditions

There are many different traditions in Africa. Johannesburg (and Africa overall) is known for the arts and crafts[38]. It attracts tourists from all around the world to purchase homemade crafts when visiting the nation. The jewelery symbolizes the African tradition by the use of materials such as shells; shells are a big symbol in African tradition and culture[38]. In Africa there is a tradition that when people are gathered together everyone dances around moving many different body parts;[38] this is called "The Sub-Saharan”, and the music consists of drums followed by different rhythms[38]. Some women in Africa wear traditional clothing which consists of cotton cloth[38]. The traditional clothing for men is pants and knee-length shirts[38]. It is normal for men to wear knee high socks in this culture, while women do not wear socks at all [38]. Johannesburg is one of the most popular cities in the country. [39]. However, tourists who visit the city cannot take photographs of the residents unless they have permission to do so and the people do not feel threatened[40].

[edit] Clothes

In Johannesburg citizens are permitted to wear anything, in terms of clothing [40]. If you are a tourist you must try and avoid wearing khaki clothes; even children are not allowed to wear this style of clothing[40]. Khaki clothing is a symbol of the military and people who are not in the military must avoid wearing these colours at all times[40]

[edit] Site Seeing

Tourism in Johannesburg is popular amongst many different people around the world. Johannesburg is known as "the city of gold" [39]. This is because of the famous gold mine found within the city.[39]. The gold mine is now an open air museum, which allows tourists to go down and see how the gold was processed [39]. Tourists also visit another museum: "The Museum of Africa", which provides the feel of the culture and the history of the city.[39].

[edit] Food

The food in Johannesburg is similar to the food in North America; however they have different titles. The dish 'Biltang and droewors' is a traditional dish people eat while watching rugby, consisting of dry salted sausage.[41]. Another famous dish is 'Potjiekes', which is a stew that consists of meat, vegetables, and rice.[41]

[edit] Notes and References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Johannesburg official site (2014)
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 Fouberg, E. H., Murphy, A. B., De Blij, H. J., Nash, C. J. (2012). Human Geography: People, Place, and Culture (Canadian Edition). Mississauga, ON: John Wiley and Sons Canada, Ltd
  3. 3.0 3.1 Official Website of the City of Johannesburg. (2014). Manufacturing. Retrieved from
  4. Official Website of the City of Johannesburg. (2014). Trade agreements. Retrieved from
  5. South Africa Info. (n.d.). Oliver Tambo International Airport. Retrieved from
  6. Official Website of the City of Johannesburg. (2014). Overview: Johannesburg as a business centre. Retrieved from
  7. Supreme Guest House Accommodation. (2014). “OR Tambo International Airport”. Retrieved from
  8. South Africa Info. (n.d.) Joburg: Africa’s second most visited city. Retrieved from
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Official Website of the City of Johannesburg. (2014).Visitors. Retrieved from
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 Official Website of the City of Johannesburg. (n.d.). Overview. Retrieved from
  11. Official Website of the City of Johannesburg. (2014). “External Relations Unit”. Retrieved from
  12. FIFA. (2010). 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. Retrieved from
  13. South Africa Info. (n.d.). Government in South Africa. Retrieved from
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 South Africa Info. (2012). The nine provinces of South Africa. Retrieved from
  15. Government of South Africa. (2014). “Government leaders”. Retrieved from
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Government of South Africa. (2014). “National Legislator (Parliament)”. Retrieved from
  17. Official Website of the City of Johannesburg. (2014). Joburg-Regions. Retrieved rom
  18. Official Website of the City of Johannesburg. (2014). “The seven regions”. Retrieved from
  19. Official Website of the City of Johannesburg. (2014). "Opportunities". Retrieved from
  20. South African Government. (2014). "Local government". Retrieved from
  21. South African Politics. (2013, August 14). Mpho Parks Tau: Executive Mayor of Johannesburg. Retrieved from
  22. 22.0 22.1 Official Website of the City of Johannesburg. (2014). “Office of the Executive Mayor”. Retrieved from
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Official Website of the City of Johannesburg. (2014). “How it works - Overview”. Retrieved from
  24. Findley, L. and Ogbu, L. (2011, November). “South Africa: From Township to Town”. Retrieved from
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 South Africa Info. (2012). “South Africa’s National Anthem”. Retrieved from
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Statistics South Africa. (2014). City of Johannesburg. Retrieved from
  27. index mundi. (2014). South Africa Demographics Profile 2014. Retrieved from
  28. Maps of World. (2009). "Infant Mortality Rate Map". Retrieved from
  29. Maps of World. (2012). "Life Expectancy at Birth. Retrieved from
  30. Maps of World. (2009). Infant Mortality Rate Map. Retrieved from
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Official Website of the City of Johannesburg: Archives. (2004). Migrants of the City of Johannesburg. Retrieved from
  32. 32.0 32.1 Centre for Development and Enterprise. (2008). Immigrants in Johannesburg: Estimasting numbers and assessing impacts. Retrieved from
  33. Official Website of the City of Johannesburg. (2014). South Africanisms. Retrieved from
  34. 34.0 34.1 Business Report (2013) retrieved from:
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 Official Website of the City of Johannesburg. (2014). South Africanisms. Retrieved from
  36. Lancaster, L. (2013, September 19). Where murder happens in South Africa. "". Retrieved from
  37. 37.0 37.1 Wikipedia. (2014, January 12). Languages of South Africa. Retrieved from
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 38.3 38.4 38.5 38.6 Wikipedia. (2014, June 12). "Culture of Africa." Retrieved from>
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 39.4 Orange Smile. (2002). "Sightseeing in Johannesburg-Culture Sights 'Must Visit' & 'Must See'. Retrieved from
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.3 Orange Smile. (2002). Traditions, Lifestyles, and Habits in Johannesburg. Retrieved from
  41. 41.0 41.1 Orange Smile. (2002). "Travel Guide to Johannesburg, South Africa." Retrieved from
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