News / Africa

Africa’s Megacities a Major Draw for Young Up-and-Comers

Africa’s Megacities a Major Draw for Young Up-and-Comersi
X
February 05, 2014 8:34 PM
London. Paris. Lagos. The list of international megacities is growing, with more and more African entries on the list. Mayors from the world’s megacities met this week in Johannesburg to discuss the challenges their cities face. VOA’s Anita Powell took to the streets of gritty Johannesburg to unravel the allure of the African megacity.
Anita Powell
London. Paris. Lagos.  The list of international megacities is growing, with more and more African entries on the list.  Mayors from the world’s megacities met this week in Johannesburg to discuss the challenges their cities face. 

Like many Johannesburg residents, Simphiwe Kahla came from somewhere else. The 24-year-old student hails from a town in the rural Eastern Cape province, but said Africa’s economic hub was now his home.

“ Here, you actually stay on your toes. It keeps you on your toes, it’s all about hustling, it’s all about business. I think I would really get bored if I would have to return to the Eastern Cape,” said Kahla.

FILE - Johannesburg is emerging as one of the continent's first FILE - Johannesburg is emerging as one of the continent's first "mega-cities"- bringing both opportunities and challenges as South Africa extends its dominance northwards.
x
FILE - Johannesburg is emerging as one of the continent's first
FILE - Johannesburg is emerging as one of the continent's first "mega-cities"- bringing both opportunities and challenges as South Africa extends its dominance northwards.
Simphiwe Kahla is one of millions of people who have in recent years swarmed to Africa’s megacities: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Cairo, Egypt; Lagos, Nigeria and Johannesburg, South Africa. Together these very different cities contain a staggering 20 million people.

Mayors from more than 40 megacities met in Johannesburg to discuss the many challenges faced by megacities.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg lauded the urbanization of Africa.

“In 2011, there were 52 African cities with a population higher than one million people. By 2016, in only two years, there will be around 65. And that’s a good thing," he said.

Africa megacities faced extra challenges, said Johannesburg’s executive mayor, Mpho Parks Tau.

“The difference of course is that megacities in the developing world have to deal with informalization of settlements because as people come into the city there isn’t always adequate accommodation to have those people coming to the cities. A lot of them find themselves in inadequate accommodation in slum environments,” said Tau.

Hannah Edinger, a director with the research group Frontier Advisory, said one of the things that makes African megacities unique was that there just weren’t enough of them.

“What is interesting about African cities, unlike European cities for example, is there is only a few cities, and these cities are expanding quite rapidly," said Edinger.

Many new Johannesburg residents, like Songezo Mcapukisi, said they ccme here - not for the culture, the diversity or the restaurants - but for the money.

“We’re faced with the reality that our skills, they are only needed in the megacities, in the metropolitan cities. You know, I studied accounting, and there are no jobs for accountants back home,” Mcapukisi.

Lawyer Chris Baird is one of the large number of young professionals who have flocked to Johannesburg.

“All of my friends are here. It’s a great place in terms of being a young professional. It’s where the great work is. It’s the economic hub of the country … I’ll give you, it’s not nearly as pretty as Cape Town, but it’s where you need to be if you want to climb up the ranks,” he said.

It may be a concrete jungle, but for more and more Africans, it’s home.

You May Like

Amnesty: EU Failing Migrants, Refugees

Rights group says migrants, refugees subject to detention, extortion, beatings More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deali
X
July 07, 2015 12:02 PM
If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs