About Johannesburg and Its Forest


Johannesburg. Jo’burg. Joeys. Jozi. Egoli. It’s all the same place.

South Africa’s biggest city. The city built on gold. The city that South Africans – well, those who don’t live in it – love to hate.

We generally don’t have a kind word for the concrete jungle that appears to be a shrine to money, crime, traffic jams, Gareth Cliff and a piss-poor rugby team. Confession. I was born there. At Mary Mount Hospital. While my parents lived at 55 Mars St. Truly alien. But, after just 18 months of life, I managed to persuade Mom and Dad to get the hell out and move to Pietermaritzburg. I’ve tried really hard to avoid going back ever since.

So, when I stumbled across this stunning little fact in Awesome SA’s insanely fascinating Awesome South Africa book, I was well impressed.

Check? You almost can't see the grossly ostentatious flaunting of wealth for the trees

The concrete jungle we call many names is actually, wait for it, the biggest man-made forest in the entire world. Yes. Hang on. No. I reckon birds had a big hand in helping to create the 10 million trees that green up Jo’burg today. But still, very surprising, hey?

And, just for good measure, the Awesome SA book also tells us that Jozi is the biggest city in the world not to be located beside a lake, a river or the ocean. Who knew that?

Fred Hatman
Fred Hatman (AKA Howard Donaldson) knew he wanted to be newspaper journalist at age 13. He has worked as a reporter and sub-editor for the Daily News and Cape Times, both based in South Africa and Wimbledon News, Today, London Daily News, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mirror, all based in London .
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