Johannesburg, also known as ‘eGoli’ meaning place of gold, is the largest and most populous city in South Africa. From its modest beginnings as a mining town in the 1800s, the city has been rebuilt four times within a century, starting off as a tented camp, which then grew to a tin shanty town, then to four-storey Edwardian brick buildings and finally to a modern city with its skyline boasting skyscrapers.
Modern-day Johannesburg is the economic and financial hub of South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. While mining remains a predominant activity, with 40% of the world’s gold being mined within the greater Johannesburg region, Johannesburg has diversified into service and trade as well as high-value manufacturing. Johannesburg contributes approximately 16% to the gross domestic product of South Africa.
Johannesburg is one of the most accessible points in Africa; with O.R. Tambo international Airport being the largest and busiest airport in Africa, hosting over 50 airlines. In addition to O.R. Tambo international, Lanseria international Airport is conveniently situated on the other side of Johannesburg.
In 2010 South Africa successfully hosted the FiFA World Cup. Five new stadiums were constructed and Johannesburg’s public transportation infrastructure was upgraded, with the introduction of the Gautrain and the first phase of the rea vaya bus system being launched. The opening ceremony and final were held at Johannesburg’s Soccer City in Soweto, the historical home of Noble Peace Laureates Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Former South African President Nelson mandela.
After the success of the FiFA World Cup, Johannesburg has certainly proved itself to be a worthy and capable host, making it an excellent destination for business and leisure tourism as well as sporting, cultural and other events. On 3 September 2011 it was announced that Johannesburg had submitted the winning bid to host One Young World Summit 2013. On announcing the winners David Jones, CEO of Havas Worldwide and One Young World Co-founder, said: “We received amazing bids from superb cities and Johannesburg is a true global icon, a city that has shown it can handle world events with style and exuberance... We are thrilled that the city will be our host for the One Young World Summit 2013.” The Summit was held at the Sandton Convention Centre and a dazzling opening ceremony took place at FNB Stadium, better known as Soccer City.
Johannesburg is home to around 3.8 million people; 49% of its population is under the age of 34 and 42% is under the age of 24. South Africa has committed itself to youth development; with community- based youth advisory centres within the city that are managed by the mayor’s Office and with youth participation and representation in Parliament on a national level. The Executive mayor of Johannesburg, Councillor Parks Tau, and the City of Johannesburg, gave a warm welcome to the One Young World Summit 2013 and the legacy it may leave for South Africa and the continent.