Welcome to Johannesburg - South Africa and to the 149th edition of the Forum Song Contest (FSC).
Theme: ‘South Africa: In the Reflection of Gold’
Winner FSC June 2021
The Host city for this FSC #149-edition is : Johannesburg - South Africa, informally known as Jo
zi, Jo’burg, or "The City of Gold", & is the largest city in South Africa. It is classified as a megacity,
and is one of the 50 largest urban areas in the world. It is the provincial capital and largest city of
Gauteng province in South Africa. The name in Sotho-Tswana languages means " place of Gold ".
Johannesburg is the seat of the Constitutional Court , the highest court in South Africa . Most of
the major South African companies and banks have their head offices in Johannesburg. The city
is located in the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills , and is the centre of large-scale gold &
diamond trade. The metropolis is an alpha global city listed by the Globalization & WCR Network.
In 2019 , the population of the city of Johannesburg was 5.635.127, making it the most populous
city in South Africa. The city is often described as Africa's economic powerhouse & contentiously
as a modern and prosperous African city. It is the hub of South Africa's commercial financial indu
strial & mining undertakings . Johannesburg is part of a larger urban region (Randburg/Sandton).
Controversy surrounds the origin of the name Johannesburg. There was a number of people with
the name "Johannes" , who were involved in the early history of the city f.ex. Christiaan Johannes
Joubert (member of the Volksraad + the Republic's chief of mining), Stephanus Johannes Paulus
Kruger (president of South African Rep. 1883-1900) or Johannes Meyer (1st government official).
Historically , The region surrounding Johannesburg was originally inhabited by San hunter-gather
ers who used stone tools . There is evidence , that they lived there up to ten centuries ago. Stone-
walled ruins of Sotho–Tswana towns and villages are scattered around the Johannesburg-region
By mid-18th century the broad region was largely settled by various Sotho–Tswana communities
Their villages , towns , chiefdoms & the kingdoms stretched from the Bechuanaland Protectorate
( what is now Botswana ) in the west to present day Lesotho in the south to the present day Pedi
areas of the Limpopo Province. Many Sotho–Tswana towns and villages in the areas around Joh
annesburg were destroyed, & their people driven away during the late 18th & early 19th centuries.
Central were: the mfecane or difaqane wars (conflict between indigenous ethnic communities in
the region), and as a result , an offshoot of the Zulu kingdom , the Ndebele ( Matabele ) , set up a
kingdom northwest of Johannesburg around modern-day Rustenburg . Later in 19th century , the
main Witwatersrand gold reef , was discovered in June 1884 on a farm called Vogelstruisfontein.
The discovery was made by Jan Gerritse Bantjes and triggered the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and
the founding of Johannesburg in 1886. The discovery of gold rapidly attracted people to the area
making necessary a name , & governmental organisation for the area . Within 10 years the city of
Johannesburg included 100.000 people. In September 1884 the Confidence Reef was discovered
This discovery was made by the Struben brothers on the farm Wilgespruit near present-day Rood
epoort which further boosted excitement over gold prospects. The first gold to be crushed on the
Witwatersrand was the gold-bearing rock from the Bantjes mine, crushed using the Struben broth
ers stamp machine . Gold was earlier discovered , ca 400 kms east of present-day Johannesburg
‘South Africa: In the Reflection of Gold’
‘Johannesburg: A City of Duality and Contrasts’
‘South Africa: In the Reflection of Gold’ is the theme for this FSC-edition & reflects South Africa’s
-& in particular Johannesburg’s - long history of gold mining . Gold and diamond discoveries pla
yed an imperative part , in development of the early South African history . The first recorded dis
covery of gold was, as previously mentioned, found on the banks of Witwatersrand by Jan Gerrit
Bantjes June 1886 ; a defining moment in South African history which also led to the establishm
ent of Johannesburg . Gold ( more than diamonds ) revolutionized South Africa from agricultural
society to become the largest worldwide gold-producer . Later more gold mines were discovered
further south/east extending for miles underground resulted in ‘an endless treasure of gold’ Gold
mining did very quickly become the largest ,& most important part of the South African economy.
Throughout much of the early 20th century the gold mining industry continued to grow significan
tly contributing to an overall economic triplingeffect. In particular revenue from goldexports prov
ided sufficient capital , continuing to be a major contributor , to the South African economy today
Gold as a natural state can be described as gleaming yellow nuggets Its malleability natural beau
ty, scarcity & the ease at which it can be melted, brought into formation and measured, has made
it a natural trading medium.Gold is a rich & complex metal recognized as the oldest metal known
to man. Wars have been fought for it and love been declared with it. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs
portray gold as the sun's brilliance &astronomers today use mirrors coated with gold in their craft
Johannesberg is the ‘Gold Capital’ of South Africa but is a also a ‘City of Duality and Contrasts’. It
is industrial, urban, gritty, and for many people it is all about work, work, work, and making money.
Johannesburg is the wealthiest city in Africa according to reports . But not for everyone. It is very
cosmopolitan, & some areas are modern & trendy and artsy . In other areas though there is urban
decay, much crime & a harsh existence. It is a concrete jungle , but some also say it is the largest
urban forest on earth, due to all the suburban gardens . There is a section of the city & the popula
ce who live in poverty and far from ‘fields of gold’ and wealth. Great fortunes can indeed be made
in this city but it is also a place of great despair and poverty for many. An estimated 20 percent of
Johannesburg residents live in abject poverty . These residents often live in informal settlements,
that lack electricity, proper roads or any other form of direct municipal services. Another 40 perce
nt live in “inadequate housing” , with insufficient municipal services. Poverty in Johannesburg still
generally falls along distinct racial lines , with black residents making up ca 72 percent of the city'
“poor,” and unemployment among these stands at 30 percent which is an extremely high number.
This is the ‘dark underbelly’ of a city which otherwise prides itself on being a modern city of devel
opment and wealth. The government attributes much of the city’s poverty to apartheid’s enduring
legacy. During apartheid , Johannesburg was divided into a series of local districts segregated by
race , with the white districts being substantially wealthier and more self-sufficient than the black
districts . In response to these issues, the Johannesburg City Council has identified a series of re
forms to be implemented but it is a long road to traverse and it will take time to make lives better
Like many late 19th-century mining towns , Johannesburg was a rough & disorganised place pop
ulated by white miners from all continents, African tribesmen recruited to perform unskilled mine
work, African women beer brewers who cooked for and sold beer to the black migrant workers, a
very large number of European prostitutes , gangsters , impoverished Afrikaners , and tradesmen
In 1917, Johannesburg became the headquarters of the Anglo-American Corporation which ultim
ately became one of the world's largest corporations, dominating both gold-mining and diamond-
mining in South Africa . Major building developments, took place in the 1930s , after South Africa
went off the gold standard. In late 1940s & early 1950s, Hillbrow ( inner city area ) went high-rise.
In the 1950s and early 1960s , the apartheid government constructed the massive agglomeration
of townships that became known as Soweto . New freeways encouraged massive suburban spra
wl to the north of the city . In the late 1960s & early 1970s, tower blocks (including the Carlton Ce
ntre and the Southern Life Centre) filled the skyline of the central business district ( abbrev. CBD )
Johannesburg's city centre retains its elements of a rectangular grid pattern , that was first offici
ally recorded in 1886 . Streets are narrow and filled with high rises, built in the mid- to late 1900s
Old Victorian-era buildings first built in the late 1800s, have been torn down long ago. The 1900s
brought along with it, the introduction of many different architectural styles , and said structures.
In the past few decades there have been much redevelopment in the city. There has been an incr
easing focus on the rejuvenation of the inner city of Johannesburg. One of these initiatives is the
Maboneng District located on the south-eastern side of the CBD. Originally a hub for art it has ex
panded to include restaurants , cafes , entertainment venues , and retail stores, as well as hotels.
Johannesburg is a cultural hub in South Africa, & has a wide variety of cultural venues . It's home
to the National School of Arts , The University of Witwatersrand's School of the Arts , & the South
African Ballet Theatre, as well as the Johannesburg Art Gallery and other cultural landmarks, like
Mary Fitzgerald Square , Nelson Mandela Square , many museums , theatres, galleries & libraries
Though not traditionally known as a tourist destination, Johannesburg has much to offer visitors.
City sights include: Constitution Hill, Soweto & Mandela Museum, Gold Reef City, Market Theatre,
The Lion Park , Holy Hill , the Apartheid Museum , the Mandela House , Zoo Lake , and Maboneng
Precinct. The most popular sports in the city are football (with several top teams), cricket & rugby
The Host venue for FSC #149 July 2021 is: the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg , South Af
rica. It is a Johannesburg landmark , & is a highly sought-after venue in the city for special events
and ex.hibitions. As the cornerstone of the Johannesburg events and entertainment scene, organ
isers & visitors can enjoy the venue‘s versatility & unrivaled capacity to host any size event, in any
setup. The main arena capacity is highly versatile (with a capacity up to 20.000) & has seen a mu
ltitude of concert setups (with famous artists such as Avril Lavigne , Westlife , Mariah Carey, Katy
Perry and Sam Smith to name a few) over the years, special event setups and also hosts some of
the most well known trade and consumer ex.hibitions in South Africa . The Blue Wing Conference
& Events Venue , adjoined to the Tickerpro Dome , is a blank canvas for smaller more intimate me
etings and events. The Dome opened on 8th April 1998 with a concert by Diana Ross in front of a
15.000 strong audience. Nelson Mandela made a surprise appearance onstage during the official
opening that night. They are proud to be hosting this evening’s edition of the Forum Song Contest
Our lovely Hosts this evening are:
Charlize Theron and Trevor Noah
Charlize Theron is a famous South African actress, & producer . She is the recipient of numerous
accolades , including an Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, & a Golden Globe Award.
In 2016 , Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Activism
is important for Theron. She is proud to co-host this evening’s edition of the Forum Song Contest
Trevor Noah is a South African comedian , television host, writer, producer, political commentator
and actor. He is the host of The Daily Show, an American satirical news program on Comedy Cent
ral.In 2018 Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world He has
received various awards. He is proud to co-host this evening’s edition of the Forum Song Contest
And we are now pleased to announce
The Opening Acts
Exclusive International Guest Appearances
Ayumi Hamasaki (Japan)
’Depend On You’