Johannesburg is the economic heart of South Africa, the central focus of Egoli ('Place of Gold'), as the Sotho name for Gauteng suggests. The largest and richest city in South Africa, Johannesburg's lifestyle is a fast-paced and hectic one. No-one could have imagined the repercussions when an unemployed miner found a stone bearing traces of gold here in 1886, an event that led to the discovery of the world's richest natural treasure trove.
People flocked to the Johannesburg area from all ends of the earth, and the open pastoral landscape changed almost overnight. Shantytowns sprang up and were rapidly transformed into modern concrete cities. Johannesburg became 'The Gold Capital of the World', and the entire country was catapulted into an economic boom. Today the shantytown remains, a vast and sprawling tin-roofed expanse that houses millions of extremely poor blacks. Astonishingly, the opulent and luxurious mansions of the rich are located less than a mile distant, behind high walls and razor wire.