The 1886 discovery of the world’s richest gold reef fueled the boom that created Johannesburg. In 1889 the formation of the Chamber of Mines (created by mining magnates such as Cecil Rhodes) led to the creation and enforcement of policies preventing black men from holding any career aspirations other than that of manual laborer. Flash forward to 1976 and police are shooting at students who are peacefully demonstrating against apartheid. Jump ahead again and find the despicable, century-old policy of apartheid finally abolished with the 1994 elections.
From these troubled origins, Johannesburg has grown into a city whose present strives to escape the dysfunction of its past. It is notorious for both violent crime and vibrant character, a place where a newly emerging wealthy black middle class hopes to repel the criminal element by living in walled neighborhoods patrolled by security guards. Tourists are urged to exercise caution here, by maintaining a low profile, keeping doors locked and taking care to avoid conspicuous displays of wealth. Attractions in the Johannesburg area include the Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill, the Johannesburg Art Gallery, the Hector Pieterson Memorial, the Johannesburg Zoo and the Planetarium.