Main Reef Road is a Documentary programme.


Main Reef Road

Gauteng means place of gold and Johannesburg is South Africa's most important gold centre. The province is the most densely populated in the country and, although much of the gold has long been extracted, many are still lured by the prospect of finding their fortune. This programme steps back to a time when Johannesburg rang, not with the sounds of sirens, but with the mechanical tunes of the mines. It takes a trip along the important Main Reef Road, the lifeline which joined the string of goldmines together and which was once the busiest road in Africa.

Despite the bad press given to Jo'burg, film-maker Nic Hofmeyr still adopts a nostalgic attitude toward the Main Reef Road which, for so long, supported the city and South Africa. In this programme he jumps into his battered VW Beetle with the intention of driving the length of the road and exploring mines and meeting people along the way. He gives us a fascinating retrospective and a sharp contemporary insight into Johannesburg, a city few dare to explore.

Johannesburg was founded as a mining settlement in 1886 when gold was discovered. However, many now feel that the inhabitants of South Africa's original engine room have grown away from their roots. Most have long since moved away from the Main Reef Road and have escaped to the suburbs in the north. People have left the city to rot and decay and now much of Johannesburg is most renowned for its slums and the dubious accolade of having a spectacularly high crime rate.

Nic Hofmeyr attempts to redress the balance somewhat, and to show that it is worth lingering in this part of the world.

Genre: Documentary

Running Time: 60 minutes (approx)