Hillbrow is an inner city residential neighbourhood of Johannesburg, Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is known for its levels of population density, unemployment, poverty. In the 1970s it was an Apartheid-designated whites only area but soon became a grey area and it acquired a cosmopolitan and politically progressive feel, and was one of the first identifiable gay and lesbian areas in urban South Africa. However, due to the growth of the population of poor and unemployed blacks after the end of Apartheid, crime soared. This, together with lack of investment and fear led to an exodus of middle class residents in the 1980s, today, the majority of the residents are migrants from the townships, rural areas and the rest of Africa, many living in abject poverty. An urban regeneration programme is underway, there are street markets, mainly used by local residents, and the Johannesburg Art Gallery contains work by major local artists including William Kentridge. In 2000, Michael Hammon and Jacqueline Görgen directed a documentary named Hillbrow Kids, through this lens, Hillbrow becomes representative for the larger post-apartheid nation. In 2007, BBC Two reporter Louis Theroux ran a documentary called Law, the documentary depicted the state of complete abandon and lawlessness in some parts of the city, specifically on Hillbrow. Much of Lauren Beukes 2010 science fiction novel Zoo City was set in Hillbrow, the organization’s first address in Hillbrow was on 52 Soper Road, close to Ponte City. In 1993 they moved to two adjacent premises on 60 Olivia Road where the organization had The House Drop-in Centre and Intombi Shelter, at the time, in South Africa, there was no legislation allowing The House Group to conduct its mission. Legislation was in effect to help children, but no legislation allowed for girls in shelters. The lack of a legislative framework disallowed The House Group to continue, the founders appealed to the media for help. A barrage of media attention followed that rallied public support and gained international attention, according to The House Group, hundreds of print articles and television exposes occurred over several years. During 1996, The House Group was invited to deliver papers to the 1st World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, held in Stockholm, a hundred and fifty countries were represented at the meeting. The organization enjoyed goodwill and sponsorship from foreign governments, most notable the Royal Dutch Government, during 1997, the Gauteng Provincial Government proclaimed the first legislation that allowed shelters for female children. Jean du Plessis and Adele du Plessis had worked with the ministry over many years to that effect, subsequent to 1996, hundreds of shelters and programs similar to The House Group sprouted in South Africa. The problem with children and youth victims of sexual exploitation in South Africa. The Hillbrow Tower, a tower, dominates the Johannesburg city skyline
Hillbrow and the Hillbrow Tower
Hillbrow Tower (right) with Ponte Apartment building and the skyline of Hillbrow.