Currently Johannesburg in South Africa boasts the largest man made forest in the world! It has developed into the city it is today, the financial capital of South Africa, from the gold rush days in the late 1800’s. This whole area was part of the independent Boer Republics, ZAR and Freestate. Johannesburg was established in 1886 following the discovery of gold on a farm. It was established as a small village controlled by a Health Committee in 1886 with the discovery of an outcrop of a gold reef on the farm Langlaagte. Due to the extremely large gold deposit found along the Witwatersrand.
After the Great Trek European pastoralists also started settling in the Transvaal. Some of them chose to farm where Johannesburg was to rise later. Each burgher (citizen) was entitled to at least one farm, measuring 1500 morgen or about 3100 acres.
Booklets of Johannesburg
These small booklets are fascinating because they give a contemporary account of what Johannesburg looked like some three years after the discovery of gold in 1889. Charles Cowen opens with the sentence: “The chief attraction of Southern Africa at this moment is Johannesburg”.
Johannesburg is described as having an “extraordinary evolution from the camp of cotton tents of yesterday, into a substantial city of rising noble edifices and institutions today” and it was all due to the discovery of “earth bound metalliferous riches”, ie gold. The writer predicted a grand future for the Transvaal anchored in gold, coal, new industries and commerce.
Ironically while 1888 and early 1889 were boom years, in the latter months of 1889 the mining industry went into a slump as the gold bearing reef became pyrite and extraction of gold became impossible until the Scottish chemist McArthur and Forrest developed the cyanide process for extracting gold, in 1890. The picture was not quite a glowing as the gloss of these photographs and a promotional blurb gushed.
The gold mines dominated the landscape. Remember how close they were to the early mining camps… Natal Camp, Meyer’s Camp and Ferreira’s camp. The mines shown in the vignette pictures are Salisbury, Langlaagte, Jumpers, Knights Gold Mining Company on the Main Reef, Roodepoort Central.
The style of mining was changing rapidly from outcrop surface mining, with shallow incline shafts and the simple crushing of the ore to the deeper level mining, far more sophisticated capital intensive pit headgear in corrugated iron batteries. The stamp batteries, milling the seams of banket, moving up and down relentless, were pushing up production. Thousands of stamp batteries proliferated on the Rand. These were worked day and night and early memoirs talk of people not being able to sleep because of the sound of the dollies. All the early headgear and batteries were imported from engineering plants in Lincoln and Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester and were shipped to a port and then transported inland by wagon.
Johannesburg and its mines was never the place for the lone prospector or single mine venture. Company formations and capital agglomeration in mammoth mining houses with oligopolistic capacity to organize a Diggers Committee and by 1889 the Witwatersrand Chamber of Mines and ultimately Labour recruitment system that depended on low cost migrant labour.
These two souvenir booklets give a glimpse of the speedy emergence of Johannesburg as an orderly organized town, showing the extraordinary rapid shift from tented camp, to sod hut, to iron shanty to modern structures in brick stone and cement. It was a city built on gold (in 1888 the total production amounted to 243, 152 ounces of gold ).
The first recorded discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand was made on a farm Langlaagte, that belong to the Oosthuizen families. Also Turffontein, Doornfontein and Braamfontein. George Harrison is “today credited or claimed” as the man who discovered an outcrop of the Main Reef of gold on the farm Langlaagte in February 1886, but it was actually the family itself that discovered the gold on their farmland and NOT Harrison.
It was told for years that Harrison and his partner, George Walker, entered into a prospecting agreement with the owner of Langlaagte, one G.C. Oosthuizen. The Oosthuizen family discovered the gold, not Harrison or Walker.
Two days later Colonel Ignatius Ferreira staked out his camp on Turffontein to serve as a centre for diggers. Louwrens Geldenhuys found the Main Reef on Turffontein and Henry Nourse located it on Doornfontein.
On 8 September 1886 nine farms, extending from Driefontein in the east to Roodepoort in the west, were declared public diggings. Carl von Brandis was appointed as the mining commissioner for the area.
On 8 November 1886 a diggers’ committee was elected to assist the mining commissioner in the execution of his duties. Just to mention, it is so easy to re-write historical facts about the independence states that were taken away by the British Empire during the Anglo BOER wars or deny the facts about this.
How many of the youth today have noticed the real history, that we as Boers, from the two independent Boer republics have historical facts some people that want to destroy that their history never exist.
The Boers did not make war in England, but the British empire send their hundreds of thousands of troops to put our women, children and old people in British Consentration camps as their way to get to the men of our proudly Boers that were not scared of an Empire.
Is like we have playing games, then the British took all working toys away from us, our human rights and identity to have our freedom in those Republics.
Johannesburg played a huge role during the Anglo Boer Wars and further developments in the mining sector when it was the British that annexed all mines in southern Africa. All mines were annexed just after the Wars ended 1902 and the legislation was handled and ruled from London – NOT from the Boers anymore – and mostly Randlords and since then also import illegals from other countries, not from this country or own workers.
Even the housing systems and hostels for mostly black and chinese men, were controlled by the British people. They used their aeroplanes to fly more than 400000 immigrants into this areas (gold at Witwatersrand and diamonds at Kimberley mine).
Today Johannesburg is mostly “annexed” by strangers and illegal immigrants. Who’s fault is that if the British came to our countries, took it away, it was independent countries (ZAR and Freestate)? But obvious those people do have no idea what they did to us, or did they?
Yes they did with reasons and some also make use of blacks against us, the citizens of this areas, to burn down farms, farm houses and also all food. Same is happening today – they came onto your property, break into your house and claim it is theirs, just to kill the owners that live on that property since independence days.
What will England, America, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands, Russia or China do if we do that, just walk into their houses and kill their citizens and claim it is ours, claim all the minerals? It happened 100 years back to our Boer people and it is still happening.
The Boer republic called their citizens Boers and there is nothing wrong to be called a BOER – be proud of that you are a Boer, even if you live now in another province or country because of safety reasons or Black Economic Empowerment and Affirmative action (since 1994).
Just a matter of interest, most of the workers in mines came from outside our borders and not inside our borders. There were also other black tribes in this area, but those areas were called during that time, either British Crownlands or Reserves (mostly from 1840 and the Shepstone Policy of 1854 – separate areas the British annexed too). In later documents of the Union of South Africa (1910) it was also referred to separate areas, Reserves / Crown lands (Shepstone Policy 1854, British empire).
Satellite image of Johannesburg and the northern suburbs. Note the green areas, the suburbs look just like the Amazon forest from space. The city centre can be seen in the lower part of the picture.
View from Kallenbach Drive on the Linksfield Ridge, looking north over the suburbs of Linksfield, Orange Grove, Sydenham, Orchards, Oaklands, Highlands North, Waverley, Melrose North, Bramley, Illovo and Sandton.
Waar pas Langlaagte in die geskiedenis van Johannesburg / Witwatersrand?
GOUD – die ontdekking en ontginning van goud.
Alles het hier en omliggende plase begin, by die goudpot. Hierdie hele gebied was deel van die onafhanklike Boererepublieke, ZAR en Vrystaat. Johannesburg is in 1886 gestig na die ontdekking van goud op ‘n plaas, naamlik Langlaagte. Later is ‘n klein dorpie in 1886 gestig deur ‘n gesondheidskomitee beheer is, met die ontdekking van ‘n uitkring van ‘n goudrif op die plaas Langlaagte.
As gevolg van die uiters groot goudneerslag wat langs die Witwatersrand gevind is, is heelwat immigrante na die gebied gelok om ook hul kleims af te steek. Wildvreemdelinge wat nie regtig wettig in die land was nie.
Natuurlik is dit Paul Kruger, die President van die ZAR wat dit gemeld het hoe daar ‘n toeloop van vreemdelinge in die gebied is wat eenvoudig begin oorneem het en hul min gesteur het dat die ZAR ‘n onafhanklike land is.
Dis ook heelwat van hierdie vreemdelinge en buitelanders wat aangedring het op regte en stemreg. Daar sal ook later gesien word hoe die Britte na 1902 oor die 400000 Swartes en Chinese (sowat 60000) ingevlieg het om in hul myne te kom werk nadat hul alles geannekseer het in 1902 uit London.
Vreemdelinge soos in buitelanders wat ryker geword het uit die minerale wat gedelf is.
Heelwat “Randlords” het massiewe huise gebou en oornag in miljoeners ontpop. Geen land laat selfs vandag toe dat buitelanders so inbreuk maak op die tipe van gedrag, om eenvoudig net gebiede te kom afpen en die minerale te annekseer en dan teen groot winste te verkoop nie. Is nie net onregverdig teenoor die burgers van daardie lande nie (Transvaal en Vrystaat). Dis hier waar die oorlog begin het, omdat vreemdelinge alles wou oorneem en heelwat afkomstig van die Britse ryk.
Dis ook nie lank na die ontdekking van goud en ook diamante, wat die Britte die Anglo-Boere oorloë begin het. Die bitter stryd het gevolg, waar oor die 30000 Boere se plase, huise en hul voedsel afgebrand is. Die duisende vroue, kinders en ou mense is in helkampe, die Britse konsentrasiekampe geplaas. Dit was onder protes, daarom is plaashuise en voedsel tot as verbrand om die hele Boerevolk van die twee Boere republieke te vernietig. Die helkampe was spesifiek geskep om die Boere wat opgestaan het vir hul regte tot inkeer te bring en op hul knieë te dwing. Daar was ook Rebelle uit die Kaapkolonie wat die Boere kom help het in hul stryd teen die Britse magsoorname en mineraalontginnings. Daar was heelwat ander burgers van lande oorsee wat ook saam die Boere kom veg het teen die Engelse.