Southgate first opened its doors to the public on 26 October 1990. It was hailed as the south's answer to the burgeoning shopping industry that saw centres opening all over Johannesburg.
But almost from day one, Southgate was not the centre it was predicted to be. Even before the end of Apartheid, the rising tide of Black consumers sought to make the centre their own, and it was known as the most cosmopolitan shopping centre in South Africa.
As such, Southgate was - and still is - a pioneer in the shopping centre industry, because it was the first regional centre that needed to meet the needs of its rapidly changing market. It still is the gateway into Soweto, which remains the most dynamic former township area in the country. Soweto is a test market for the whole country, and Southgate is perfectly positioned to capture this.
The centre is owned by a consortium of investors, including Pareto, Sycom and Fountainhead Trust. Pareto is the major shareholder, and is the property arm of the Eskom Pension & Provident Fund. As such, Southgate's sister centres include big names such as Cresta, The Pavilion, Westgate and Tyger Valley.