About Sandton, Johannesburg – South Africa

by Kojo Pocu

The City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality includes Sandton, a financial hub in Johannesburg, South Africa. Sandown and Bryanston, two of the city’s suburbs, are the source of its name. Millions of South African safaris, shopping sprees, and beach holidays start in the epicentre of Johannesburg, where many of the most glamorous hotels in Sandton and other areas can be found.

Nelson Mandela is shown in a six-meter-high statue in Sandton that was created by Kobus Hattingh and Jacob Maponyane (his shoes are just one meter in length). Restaurants, a public library, and a theatre are all located close to the statue. In the region, more than 10,000 firms are active.

It is incredible to think that this affluent neighbourhood, which now houses some of the world’s best investment banks, financial advisors, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and one of the continent’s largest convention centres, was once nothing more than sandy horse trails where the “mink and manure set” lived on opulent, large estates fifty years ago. Little wonder it is known as one of Johannesburg’s most affluent neighbourhoods.

Sandton began as a neighbourhood for gentlemen at the turn of the century, with homes no smaller than one Morgen (just less than one hectare). Although the environment has drastically changed, life hasn’t fundamentally changed.

The white upper class’s peaceful lifestyle and the farms are gone, replaced by glass and chrome structures and South Africa’s growing black middle class. According to author Sarah Britten, these “empowerment kugels” eat lunch in Sandton rather than Soweto. As “Africa’s richest square mile,” Sandton has risen with a bombardment of skyscrapers in the Manhattan style that serve as landmarks in Johannesburg, particularly Sandton City’s rooftop pyramid. Take a personal walking tour that includes 29 Sandton sites and stops at several restaurants, or visit Nelson Mandela Square, numerous art galleries, or both.

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