Gauteng is one of the nine provinces of South Africa. It was formed from part of the old Transvaal Province after South Africa's first all-race elections on 27 April 1994. It was initially namedPretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging (PWV) and was renamed "Gauteng" in December 1994.
Situated in the Highveld, Gauteng is the smallest province in South Africa, accounting for only 1.5% of the land area. Nevertheless it is highly urbanised, containing the country's largest city, Johannesburg, its administrative capital, Pretoria, and other large industrial areas such as Midrand and Vanderbijlpark. As of 2011, it has a population of nearly 12.3 million, making it the most populous province in South Africa.
The name Gauteng is derived from the Afrikaans goud (gold) plus the Sotho-Tswana locative suffix "-ng". This referred to the thriving gold industry in the province following the 1886 discovery of gold in Johannesburg. In Sotho the name was used for Johannesburg and surroundings long before it was adopted in 1994 as the official name of a province.
Gauteng, formerly known as Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging (PWV), was carved out of the old Transvaal province in 1994, although the terminology "PWV", describing the region existed long before that.
The history of the area that is now Gauteng can be traced back to the early 1800s when settlers originating from theCape Colony defeated chief Mzilikazi and started establishing villages in the area. After the discovery of gold in 1886, the region proceeded to become the single largest gold-producer in the world and the city of Johannesburg was founded. The older city Pretoria was not subject to the same attention and development. Pretoria grew at a slower rate and was highly regarded due to its role in the Second Boer War. However, the Cullinan Diamondwhich is the largest diamond ever mined was mined near Pretoria in a nearby town called Cullinan in the year 1905.
Gauteng has only been properly documented since the 1800s and as a result, not much information regarding its history predating the 1800s is available. However, at the Sterkfontein caves, some of the oldest fossils of hominids have been discovered, such as Mrs. Ples and Little Foot.
Many crucial events happened in present day Gauteng with regards to the anti-apartheid struggle, such as the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, the Rivonia Trial in 1963 and 1964 and the Soweto Uprising of 1976. Today, the Apartheid Museum stands testament to these struggles in Johannesburg.
Gauteng's southern border is the Vaal River, which separates it from the Free State. It also borders on North West to the west, Limpopo to the north, andMpumalanga to the east. Gauteng is the only landlocked province of South Africa without a foreign border. Most of Gauteng is on the Highveld, a high-altitude grassland (circa 1,500 m or 4,921 ft above sea level). Between Johannesburg and Pretoria there are low parallel ridges and undulating hills, some part of theMagaliesberg Mountains and the Witwatersrand. The north of the province is more subtropical, due to its lower altitude and is mostly dry savanna habitat.
The former Metsweding district consisting of Nokeng Tsa Taemane and Kungwini in the North of the province has been incorporated to Tshwane in 2011.
Gauteng is a centre of learning in South Africa, and it has many universities and other educational institutions of higher learning.
In 2002, the Gauteng Department of Education founded an initiative called Gauteng Online in an attempt to get the entire province to utilize a wide assortment of electronic and telecommunications systems. In 2007, this initiative was handed over to the Gauteng Department of Finance.
In the 2013 national budget speech, it was announced that the Gauteng Department of Education would be granted over R700 million to improve education and to alleviate issues concerning the overcrowding in schools, a shortage in teaching staff and transport for poor pupils.
Although Gauteng province is dominated by the urban areas of Johannesburg and Pretoria, it has several nature reserves. Johannesburg is also home to the largest man-made urban forest in the world.
There are 5 provincial reserves managed by the Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs:
Gauteng is also home to the Cradle of Humankind UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes the Sterkfontein caves and the Wonder Cave Kromdraai.