chapter  3
16 Pages

Beyond Racial Fordism: Changing Patterns of Social Inequality

Johannesburg lies at the heart of the largest urban conurbation in sub-Saharan Africa.1 At the last count, the population of Johannesburg itself was about 2.3 million and the urban region, as a whole, was 7.3 million. This urban region has now been given the political status of a province and has been named ‘Gauteng’, a popular local name meaning ‘place of gold’. An almost entirely urban province, Gauteng is home to one third of the national urban population of 21.8 million. As the heart of this large conurbation, the city of Johannesburg is not typical of Gauteng, but it nonetheless mirrors the general employment trends and characteristics of the province. As such, Johannesburg is a very unequal city: it houses the wealthiest households in the country and many poor, but not the poorest, households. Johannesburg is also a racially unequal city.