Sandton: Africa’s business hub


Sandton is derived from a combination of Sandown and Bryanston and in more than 30 years, it has become the most significant business and financial district in South Africa.

When walking along the streets of Africa’s richest square mile surrounded by Manhattan-style skyscrapers, opulent houses, office towers, international and locally renowned brands, and exotic cars, it’s hard to believe that Sandton was merely sandy horse trails and grassy estates about 50 years ago.

About 50 years ago, sandy horse trails and grassy estates snaked their way along the land which is now home to one of Johannesburg’s best shopping centres. The creation of Sandton City helped transform Sandton from a farming community into a bustling business district.

Constructed by Rapp and Maister during the early 1970s, Sandton City opened its doors to eager shoppers on 12 September 1973 and soon went on to become one of the most prestigious shopping centres in Africa.

Sandton City was established in 1973, and has continued to grow and develop since then.

Sandton Timeline

– 10 000 years ago: Stone Age hunters walked the Sandton plains
– 1 000 years ago: Tribesmen watered their herds at Sandton’s streams and springs
– 400 years ago: The tribesmen ran an iron smelting economy in Sandton
– 120 years ago: The richest gold field on earth was discovered in Sandton
– 50 years ago: Sandton was home to a world of rich estates and sandy horse trails
– 37 years ago: Sandton City Shopping Centre was built

Business District

Sandton is the most opulent area in Johannesburg and is the most important business and financial district in South Africa and across Africa.

Sandton Suburbs

In the early 1930s Sandton was known as the northern suburbs of Johannesburg and was established as a gentleman estate area.

Rivonia was a rural village and served as an outspan stop on the old wagon road to Pretoria, which joined with Johannesburg when it spread north.

Rivonia is the only district of Sandton that can claim the distinction of not owing its existence directly to the northward spread of Johannesburg.


Sandton achieved independence from Johannesburg in the early 1960s, when Sandton was largely a farming and smallholding community.

After promulgation, Sandton faced a few rocky years concerning the issue of whether it should remain a quiet, semi-rural dormitory town or if it should become a more balanced entity with significant businesses and more residential buildings, splitting the town council apart.

Business space

There was a rush for commercial space in the mid to late 1980s when land in Sandton, Rosebank and Parktown was cheaper than that in the Johannesburg CBD (central business district). These areas also offered a more luxurious lifestyle, such as gardens, streams and affordable office space that could not be accommodated in the Johannesburg CBD.

Sandton now represents the second largest office node in South Africa, following behind the Johannesburg CBD. The lavish office space in Sandton commands the highest office rentals in the country.

Sandton has become home to most of the major financial, consulting and banking firms in South Africa, with a substantial 7 to 10 percent of South African JSE listed companies having postal addresses in Sandton.

Sandton City

Constructed by Rapp and Maister during the early 1970’s, Sandton City opened its doors on 12 September 1973.

The construction of Sandton City helped transform Sandton from a farming community into a bustling business district.


Sandton is home to approximately 300 000 residents and 10 000 businesses, including investment banks, top businesses, financial consultants, the Johannesburg stock exchange and one of the biggest convention centres on the African continent, the Sandton Convention Centre.


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