With a population close to 4 million, Johannesburg is far smaller than the African megacities. Nevertheless, it is regarded as a main business hub in Africa and as a political, economic and cultural interface between African, South-South and global networks. Since the discovery of underground gold deposits in 1886, the 'city of gold' has come to epitomise the immigrant destination par excellence. It not only embodies the dream of economic success but is also the African springboard to other cosmopolitan cities around the world, and is regarded, in a certain sense, as symbolising African modernity.
Initially, though, as a colonial city that also copied European architectural fashions, Johannesburg was a segregated, fragmented and, hence, ultimately fiercely contested city. The social and political upheavals since the end of apartheid in 1994 have radically changed the cityscape. To a certain extent, they have turned the urban topography 'upside down', making the city a subject of negotiation a topic addressed in the work of artists and cultural practitioners.
The documentary module explains the history of 'gold, mines and migration' in Johannesburg as well as the city's history of segregation and de-segregation down to the present day. 'Culture and Resistance' looks at the artistic positions adopted within the context of the liberation movement and presents Drum and Staffrider as two leading (historical) magazines in urban South Africa.