Sandton, Johannesburg

Sandton, Johannesburg

Infobox Settlement

|thumb|300px|right|Africa's richest square mile
image_caption=Africa's richest square mile, Sandton




subdivision_name=South Africa
subdivision_name1=Gauteng Province
government_footnotes =
government_type=Town Council

Sandton is a town in the northern part of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area, South Africa in the Gauteng Province. The name comes from the combination of two suburbs, Sandown and Bryanston, both of which were named after places in the United KingdomFact|date=February 2007. This year, the town will host the Miss World 2008 beauty pageant at the Sandton Convention Centre.



The municipality was established as an extension of the city in 1969, after Johannesburg began to expand northwards. Its initial beginnings was very much a residential area consisting mostly of small holdings. This rural "horsey" lifestyle of Sandton gave it the image of being a smart address. It was dubbed the "mink and manure" belt of


After the demise of apartheid and the manifestation of the new political dispensation, Sandton became part of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality following new demarcations put forward by the government, and it no longer has a separate municipal government.

Role in 21st century Johannesburg

Financial and business centre

It has become the new financial centre of South Africa and Johannesburg's premier business centre. Much of the financial focus of Johannesburg has shifted from the Central Business District to Sandton, especially in the last 15 years. However, three of South Africa's four largest banks have kept their head offices in downtown Johannesburg, along with Transnet, the transport parastatal. The other bank, Nedbank, has its headquarters in Sandton.

But much of the "new money" has moved north to Sandton, including investment banks, financial consultants and the like. A considerable amount of the city's A-grade office space is to be found in Sandton. The JSE Securities Exchange, Johannesburg's stock exchange, relocated its offices to Sandton from the Central Business District in the late 1990s. Sandton's gain was the central business district's loss: it resulted from urban blight of the downtown Johannesburg area.

Sandton is home to the Sandton Convention Centre, one of the largest convention centres on the continent and primary site of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (also known as "Rio + 10"), which Johannesburg hosted. The convention centre also hosted the African National Congress' victory celebrations after the party won the 2004 elections.

Hewlett Packard's South Africa office is in Sandton. []

Tourism and retail hub

One of the main attractions in Sandton is Sandton City, which ranks among the largest shopping centres in Africa. Together with Nelson Mandela Square, the centre, with some 144,000m² of shopping space, is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, larger than Sydney's Westfield Parramatta or Melbourne's Southland Shopping Centres. Much of Johannesburg's business tourism is centred on Sandton, which has a string of 5-star hotels.

It was recently announced by Liberty Properties that Sandton City will receive a R1,77-billion upgrade. Liberty Properties chief executive Samuel Ogbu has envisaged the complex as South Africa's very own Wall Street "Africa is not for sissies, but we have a bold vision, which is to see the Sandton City precinct as our own Wall Street." The redevelopment will include the construction of an 80-storey office tower, a new hotel, new retail and office space and residential apartments. The 80-storey office tower will be the tallest building in Africa, replacing the Carlton Centre in Johannesburg CBD. The extension will stretch to 30 000m² and the total complex will have a gross lettable area of 158 000m² . London-based RTKL Associates have been chosen to design the complex. [cite web|url= | title=Sandton City up for R1,7-billion upgrade | publisher=IOL| date= August 19th 2008]

Nelson Mandela Square, formerly known as Sandton Square, was renamed in March 2004, after the unveiling of a 6-metre bronze statue of the former president, one of South Africa's greatest statesmen. Perhaps ironically, Liliesleaf Farm, where Mandela and other political activists were arrested in the 1960s and tried as part of the now infamous Rivonia Trial, is north of Nelson Mandela Square, close to the M1 Highway, off Grayston Drive. The area is now home to massive office parks and other developments, and little remains of the farm.


In April 2008, 'Sandton Magazine' launched. The official slogan of the magazine is 'The Good Life in the Great North' and it strives to cater to the needs of the district’s top-end residential, tourist and business communities that drive the economic, social and retail pulse-point of the African continent. Sandton will have an initial print run of 30 000 (including 15 000 copies hand-delivered to Sandton’s finest homes and apartments, with another 7 500 distributed to Sandton hotel rooms, services and businesses, with the balance sold nationally at select retail outlets).

Miss World 2008

The Sandton convention centre will host the 2008 Miss World on Saturday, 13 December 2008. The pageant is the longest-running in the world and marks the sixth time it has been hosted in South Africa, yet previously it has always been staged at Sun City. The Sandton Convention Centre was nominated by the Johannesburg Tourism Company (JTC) as its host venue of choice. The Johannesburg Tourism Company in conjunction with Sandton Convention Centre submitted a joint bid with the JTC as the main sponsor. Ukrainian capital Kiev was scheduled to host the 2008 pageant, yet has been unable to do so due to political unrest on Russia's border with Georgia. [cite web|url= | title=Sandton Convention Centre to host Miss World 2008| publisher=Bizcommunity| date= September 9th 2008] succession box
title=Miss World Venue
after=2009 Final Venue

Popular culture

Sandton is often cited as a materialistic centre and refuge of the "white flight" from the Johannesburg CBD. Following the launch of 'Sandton Magazine', the town was satirized in a tongue-in-cheek satirical news story by [] , that was also published on the 'Sandton Magazine' website. The headline comically read 'Sandton magazine hailed as just what rich whites need'. There is reference to the requirement of two wealthy young white people on the cover “to help frightened Sandtonians forget about Alexandra township next door”. The spoof also uses the magazine's marketing slogan when “four Mozambicans wandered into the ballroom apparently in search of the good life in the great north”. These Mozambicans are “tazered”, an exaggerated reference to the advanced crime-fighting technology in the suburb. The materialism is heightened with imaginary article headline ‘Botox your Botox: why your face can never be paralysed enough’. The fears of a Zuma presidency are reiterated ‘Ten Zuma-proof off-shore investments you can hide from the taxman’. The high rates of white emigration and fears post-2010 are also satirized “Likewise, should we be looking at Perth or London post-2010?”. Ultimately, security and material items are cited as the solution to any problem in the country “We want to remind people that there is no problem this country can throw at you that you can’t solve with electric fencing and a pedicure.” [cite web|url= | title=Sandton magazine hailed as just what rich whites need| publisher=Hayibo| month=June | year=2008]

Former Sandton resident and author, Sarah Britten cites the town regularly in her book The "Art of the South African Insult". She cites the popularity that the town also holds with the growing black middle-class “Empowerment kugels don't hang out in Soweto; they do lunch in Sandton” and quotes columnist, Therese Owen's advice to former TV-personality Kedibone “Now that you're no longer wanted as a continuity presenter on SABC1, go hang out in Sandton and catch yourself a BEE boy”. She also references a commentator on Moneyweb "Sandton is attractive to the schmucks of this world — get over it — $s don't buy class."

"Africa's richest square mile"

The Sandton area is one of the most opulent in Johannesburg and South Africa, and therefore in Africa but not far away from Alexandra, one of the poorest former black townshipsFact|date=February 2007. Sandton covers an area of approximately 156 km² while Alexandra is just over 8 km². It is estimated that the population of Alexandra is the same as that of Sandton itself.

Due to the shortage of available land, the trend in new developments is to go skyward. This is evidenced by the new 140-metre tall Michelangelo Towers, which will offer Manhattan-style living in Johannesburg.Fact|date=February 2007 The new apartment block will be the fourth-tallest building in Johannesburg and local newspaper the Sunday Times reports that the top-selling penthouse apartment was sold for R28 million (around $4 million).

Concerns have been raised as to whether Sandton has the necessary road and water infrastructure to sustain the massive development that is characteristic of Johannesburg in the 21st century (since the demise of Apartheid and the Group Areas Act)Fact|date=February 2007.

Other suburbs of Sandton include Rivonia and Marlboro.


External links

* [ Sandton magazine appoints Michelle Loewenstein]
* [ Sandton- the Good Life in the Great North]
* [ Sandton Magazine hailed as just what rich whites need ]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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