Johannesburg goes from bust to boom in the run up to the world cup, the poor are being driven out as the city finds itself hostage to the power of real estate capital. But the poor fight back with some unorthodox means.
Johannesburg , now nearly a century and a half old, has survived 10 years of decline since 1994 to once again become a boom town. As the host city of the 2010 Football World Cup, the metropolis has caught the eye of the world, finally captured the imagination of its urban developers, reinvigorated a rather tardy city council and ignited its poor residents.
A massive inner city renewal project has been embarked since 2004 to convert Johannesburg into a “World Class African City”. However the plan to tame the disorderly, effervescent capital is fraught with obstacles. The story extends beyond the economic value of the city’s property to the lives of its inhabitants. Many residents have come to Johannesburg from rural areas or from other African states to seek their fortunes. These urban poor are displaced as the processes of gentrification (renewal and rebuilding) result in an influx of more affluent people into deteriorating areas.
The Battle for Johannesburg is a feature-length documentary film that examines the conflicts and consequences of Johannesburg’s rapid transformation in the 24 months leading up to the World Cup.