Johannesburg, Gauteng

Johannesburg,_City_of_Gold

Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Joburg, Jolburg, Joni, e-Goli orJoeys, abbreviated as JHB, is, by population, the largest city in South Africa. Johannesburg is the provincial capital ofGauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa. The city is one of the 50 largest urban agglomerations in the world, and is also the world’s largest city not situated on a river, lake, or coastline.

While Johannesburg is not one of South Africa’s three capital cities, it is the seat of the Constitutional Court, which has the final word on interpretation of South Africa’s constitution, and is the provincial capital of Gauteng. The city is the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade, due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills.

According to the 2007 Community Survey, the population of the city of Johannesburg was 4,434,827 and the population of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area was 7,151,447. A broader definition of the Johannesburg metropolitan area, including Ekurhuleni, the West Rand, Soweto and Lenasia, has a population of 10,267,700. The municipal city’s land area of 1,645 km2 (635 sq mi) is very large when compared with that of other cities, resulting in a moderate population density of 2,364/km2 (6,120/sq mi).

Johannesburg includes Soweto, which was a separate city from the late 1970s until the 1990s. Originally an acronym for “SOuth-WEstern TOwnships”, Soweto originated as a collection of settlements on the outskirts of Johannesburg populated mostly by native African workers in the gold-mining industry. In 1985 Mr. Nigel Mandy (BA Law – CA), who was the first General Manager of the Carlton Centre, published a book called “A City Divided” – meaning Soweto and Johannesburg cities were divided from a fiscal point of view, were divided by law and people – he also assisted the Provincial Government of the old Transvaal as well as post 1994, in developing a process whereby Black, Coloured, Indian and White people could become homeowners previously deprived from ownership during the apartheid era. (Ronnie Stevens – Gauteng Human Settlements – 2014) Eventually incorporated into Johannesburg, the apartheidgovernment (in power 1948–1994) separated Soweto from the rest of Johannesburg to make it an entirely black-residents area. The area called Lenasia has always been part of the City of Johannesburg. Lenasia is predominantly populated by those of English-speaking Indian ethnicity.

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The 150th anniversary of Indian workers in South Africa

Indian origin comprise a heterogeneous community distinguished by different origins, languages, and religious beliefs. The first Indians arrived during the Dutch colonial era, as slaves, in 1684. A conservative calculation based strictly on records shows over 16 300 slaves from the Indian subcontinent having been brought to the Cape. In the decades 1690 to 1725 over 80% of the slaves were Indians. This practice continued until the end of slavery in 1838. They made up the majority of slaves that came from the Far East and were by the 1880s totally integrated into the Cape White and Coloured communities.

In the second half if the 19th Century, Indians came to South Africa in two categories, namely as indentured workers in 1860 and later as ‘free’ or ‘passenger’ Indians. The former came as a result of a triangular pact among three governments, which stated that the indentured Indians were to work for the Natal colonial government on Natal’s sugar plantations. The ‘free’ Indians came to South Africa mainly as traders alert to new opportunities abroad. These ‘free Indians’ came at their own expense from India, Mauritius, and other places. However, emigration was stopped in 1914.

Between November 1860 and 1911(when the system of indentured labour was stopped) nearly 152 184 indentured labourers from across India arrived in Natal. After serving their indentures, the first category of Indians were free to remain in South Africa or to return to India. By 1910, nearly 26.85% indentured men returned to India, but most chose to stay and thus constituted the forbearers of the majority of present-day South African Indians.

With 1994 and the advent of a democratic constitution, immigration policy restrictions, imposed by the apartheid regime, were scrapped. People from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, arrived in South Africa as new immigrants. However, there is a major cultural division between these new groups and Indian South Africans.

A key factor that helped forge a common South African “Indian” identity was the political struggles waged against harsh discriminatory laws enacted against Indians and the other Black oppressed groups in the country. As a consequence, the Indian community established a number of political formations, the most prominent being the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) established by Gandhi in 1894, and the Transvaal and Cape Indian Congresses in the early part of the 20th century. Members of the Indian Congress, together with socialist activists in the Communist Party of South Africa were instrumental, from the 1930s, in building cross racial alliances. The small Indian, Coloured and White progressive sectors joined with progressive African activists and together, they conducted a common non-racial struggle for Freedom and Equality.

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