Choose your country and language:

Africa

  • Global
  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • DRC
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Americas

  • USA
  • Argentina
  • Brazil

Asia Pacific

  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Australia

Europe

  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
Back

TThe Johannesburg City Hall was built in the early 1900’s on the old city market square. The space in front of the hall, where the vendors used to gather to sell their wares, became a favourite spot for crowds to meet and listen to debates and speeches. Speakers stood on the granite steps rallying the crowds against a number of policies including apartheid.

Did You Know?
TThe City Hall Steps have been the scene of many violent protests and even a bombing over the years.

TThe City Hall itself is an Edwardian building constructed in 1914 by the Hawkey and McKinley construction company. It was officially opened on 7 April 1915 by the South African Governor-General Lord Buxton.

Johannesburg City Hall Steps

Food
When to visit
How to get here

TTaking up one half of the previous Market Square, the City Hall is an imposing structure with a large central tower and dome. The entire building is clad in border stone from the Free State which had to be transported to Johannesburg via ox wagon.

The steps leading up to the doors of the City Hall have always been a place of spirit and protest. Some of the earliest meetings celebrated the victory of the Bolsheviks in Russia, and subsequently led to the creation of the South African Community Party or SACP, which was to play a large part in the anti-apartheid struggle.

WWhen Nelson Mandela came to Johannesburg in 1941, soap boxing on the steps was an everyday occurrence. Mandela found the city politically exhilarating and was a regular attender and speaker at the debates on the steps.

He said of the city, “Johannesburg in those days was a combination of frontier town and modern city. Butchers cut meat on the street next to office buildings. Tents were pitched beside bustling shops and women hung out their washing next to high-rise buildings.”

These days the steps are quiet, aside from a few pigeons and curious passers-by no one really walks them anymore. The Town Hall is used by the Gauteng City Legislature and is a national monument. One can still sit on the steps though, and if you listen hard enough you can almost hear the history of the country being moulded, guided and channelled towards a brighter future.

Related Articles

Vibrant culture

Joburg’s most iconic buildings

Vibrant culture
Joburg’s most iconic buildings

The buildings in this ever-evolving city certainly reflect its rich heritage.

Bustling city life

The history of Joburg, City of Gold

Bustling city life
The history of Joburg, City of Gold

Johannesburg, the metropolis with the country’s tallest skyscrapers, was once just veld (bush), dotted with rocky outcrops, scrubby bush and a network of streams.

Bustling city life

The 10 best restaurants in Joburg

Bustling city life
The 10 best restaurants in Joburg

Just like the city itself, the dining scene in Jozi is constantly changing.

Bustling city life

Quirky hotels - trailers, ox wagons, tree houses and even a castle (3)

Bustling city life
Bustling city life

Montecasino - explore Italy while visiting Johannesburg

Bustling city life
Montecasino - explore Italy while visiting Johannesburg

Designed to meticulously represent an old Italian village in Tuscany, this entertainment complex has over 2km of restaurants and entertainment venues, and an 8500m2 gaming casino.

Bustling city life

Vibrant clubs, bars and restaurants – this is gay-friendly Johannesburg

Bustling city life
Vibrant clubs, bars and restaurants – this is gay-friendly Johannesburg

South Africa is known as a gay-friendly destination and Johannesburg is no exception.

Bustling city life

Explore South Africa’s top 10 vibrant cities

Bustling city life
Explore South Africa’s top 10 vibrant cities

From picturesque Cape Town and laid-back Durban to friendly Port Elizabeth and bustling Johannesburg, here’s a rundown of the top 10 cities.

Bustling city life

Open-top bus tours in Johannesburg

Bustling city life
Open-top bus tours in Johannesburg

The open-top bus tours run all day, every day, with on-board commentary, 12 fascinating stops and easy access to all the attractions.

South Africa on social media

Copyright © 2018 South African Tourism
|Terms and conditions|Disclaimer|Privacy policy