Johannesburg

City Basics

Introducing Johannesburg

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Gay Joburg

South Africa has one of the world's most progressive constitutions specifically giving gays and lesbians equal rights and it was was one of the first countries in the world to legalise same-sex marriage. For citizens and foreign visitors it is the most gay-friendly country in Africa. There is no one part of the city which can be considered as a gay neighbourhood, with the city's gay bars and gay-friendly venues scattered throughout Joburg.

Media

South Africa has a free press (although controversial government attempts to pass a Protection of Information Bill into law could result in restrictions) with plenty of local and national newspaper titles, public and commercial radio stations and TV channels. The country was ranked 52nd out of 179 countries in Reporters Without Borders' 2013 press freedom index.
Newspapers
Business Daythe business newspaper
The Star, a crime and grime obsessed broadsheet with an events listing section
The Times, a daily upmarket tabloid
Mail & Guardian, the leader in investigative reporting, published Fridays, with daily online news
City Press, a Sunday broadsheet for news, political commentary and opinion 
Sunday Times, a broadsheet for news, opinion and lifestyle-related content (online for subscribers only)

Radio  & TV
There are more than 30 local radio stations.
www.702.co.za for talk radio 
94.7 Highveld StereoKaya FM 95.9 or 5FM are popular music radio options
SABC, the public TV broadcaster
ETV and ENews Channel Africa (ENCA), free-to-air TV channels
M-NET and DStv, satellite TV provider 

Public Holidays in South Africa

South Africa has 12 public holidays. No matter how solemn their intention, they are regarded by most as shopping-extravaganza days. The city slows down dramatically from around December 16 each year until early January, with the shopping frenzy tapering off between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day when locals take a break, often heading for the coast or to family in other provinces. Most big malls are open on public holidays (see Shopping for details). Whenever a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following it is also a public holiday.

2015
January 1 – New Year’s Day
March 21 – Human Rights Day
April 3 – Good Friday
April 6 – Family Day
April 27 – Freedom Day
May 1 – Workers’ Day
June 16 – Youth Day
August 9  – National Women’s Day
September 24 – Heritage Day
December 16 – Day of Reconciliation
December 25 – Christmas Day
December 26 – Day of Goodwill

Postage and printing

The South African Post Office is not the mostly highly regarded postal service in terms of speed and efficiency and unfortunately it is often on strike, so don't expect postcards or parcels to arrive quickly. If you are mailing parcels using 'surface mail' (the cheapest option) be aware that they may take up to three months to arrive. Post Office branches can be found in most shopping malls, as can their commercial rival Postnet. For sending packages and letters in a hurry or for courier services, Postnet is your best bet. Note there is a South African Post Office branch in OR Tambo airport (Terminal A1 International Arrivals. Open 07:00-21:00, Sat and Sun 07:00–20:00), useful for sending any excess baggage home.

Religion

Christians are in the majority in South Africa, but there is a great deal of religious tolerance and diversity. Johannesburg has many places of worship and spiritual sites. Some are made of bricks and mortar while others are public spaces that on weekends are commissioned as 'houses' of worship. In suburbs like Yeoville and Hillbrow you can follow the sounds of the charismatic preachers from Nigeria and Cameroon who set up in backyards and under makeshift tarpaulins. The city also has many public parks that on weekends are commandeered by followers of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC), one of the largest African initiated churches in Southern Africa. You will see groups of people dressed in matching blue and white, green and white or khaki suits, a trademark silver star identifying their allegiance to the church. The Shembe Church, whose followers dress in white robes also commands millions of followers. Atop Yeoville Ridge different preachers mark out territory for worship as this is the highest green space in the inner city, believed to bring followers closer to their God.

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