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Roodepoort is a prominent city in the Gauteng province of South Africa, which in recent years has become part of the Greater Johannesburg area.
In the 1990s, the city was officially incorporated as part of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality. The city is renowned as something of an ‘urban jungle’ and as such is a sought-after residential area as well as a hub for commercial prospects. Roodepoort is also one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas (in terms of both size and population) in the country as urban sprawl continues to increase the size of Greater Johannesburg in general.
Roodepoort’s Afrikaans name literally translates to ‘red valley’, and is derived from the colour of the soil in the region. The city’s history dates back to the mid-19th century, when Boer settlers began farming and developing the land. In 1884, a prospector by the name of Fred Struben struck gold at the center of what would become the city of Roodepoort, uncovering a vein that he named ‘Confidence Reef’. The ensuing gold rush led to a large influx of people to the region, and before long, the Roodepoort farm was developed into a living quarters. While the gold in this particular reef eventually ran out, it was long enough for a permanent settlement to be established.
Over the next few decades, Roodepoort grew steadily, due in no small part to its proximity to Johannesburg and the more profitable gold reefs to be found in the region. It gradually absorbed the neighbouring towns of Florida, Hamburg, and Maraisburg, become one of the largest towns in the area. Roodepoort was also the site of the famous Jameson Raid, a key conflict that took place between British and Boer soldiers in 1895 that would contribute to the start of the Second Boer War.
In 1977, Roodepoort-Maraisburg (as it was then known) was officially granted city status, and the second half of the name was dropped for the sake of simplicity. In modern times, it continues to be a hub of growth and industry, particularly in the areas of mining and manufacturing. Roodepoort is also one of the country’s most prominently Afrikaans-speaking districts.
Roodepoort is located on the West Rand, and is situated just east of what is now central Johannesburg. The Magaliesburg mountains can be seen to the west of the region.
Roodepoort is the site of a few of historical and natural landmarks that are of some importance to the region. Arguably the most prominent is the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden (formerly known as the Witwatersrand National Botanical Gardens) that is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Gauteng (if not the country at large). A monument commemorating the Jameson Raid can also be found in the city.
Roodepoort is home to approximately 326,416 people, at a population density of around 2000 per square kilometer.
The majority of the population is Black African, with English being the most commonly spoken first language.