The political center of South Africa, despite neighboring Pretoria's title as administrative capital, Johannesburg is where the steps of Apartheid can most evidently be retraced, whether you are visiting the homes of people at the forefront of the equality movement or viewing the adverse conditions of Black migrant workers. You may also see the city from the highest building in Africa, take tours of vibrant, complicated communities, and bask in some of the best art on the African continent.
Because it was at the center of the movement to end Apartheid, Johannesburg may be the most significant resource for artifacts from that recent era. Although small and poorly kept, former president Nelson Mandela's first house has been turned into a museum that provides a snapshot into his existence. A far more comprehensive look into Apartheid can be had at the Apartheid Museum in Ormonde, across from the Gold Reef City amusement area. There is a good half a day of exploring to be had here. A more specific aspect of Apartheid is available at the Workers Museum in Newtown Park, where visitors can experience the squalor in which Black migrant workers lived by exploring one of the only remaining compounds. The heritage tours of Sophiatown are an incredible look into the conditions from which some of the biggest names and events of Apartheid arose; take the tours of the Soweto township if you're more interested in South Africa in its contemporary complexity. You'll see everything from the area's Apartheid landmarks to the squatters camps that still frequently exist.
There's more to see if you need a break from history. The Top of Africa is a panoramic viewing area in the 54 floor Carlton Center in downtown, while the Johannesburg Art Gallery in Joubert Park is the largest collection on the continent, featuring both local and international artists. The Chérie De Villiers Gallery in the Rosebank Mall is an excellent compilation of South African artists as well. Other museums, like the South African National Museum of Military History in Saxonwold or the James Hall Museum of Transport in La Rochelle are good if you're into such things. Step outside of JoBurg to the Crade of Mankind Exhibition and Education Centre in Maropeng, where the origin of humankind is explored with the assistance of artifacts and exhibits based around local discoveries of early humans. Also, if you value indigenous customs, the Lesedi Cultural Village near the Lanseria Airport has an authentic reprisal of traditional food and dance from a number of tribes.
For further information on what to do on the cultural end of the Johannesburg spectrum, peruse our activity pages and the many avenues of embark.org.