Johannesburg Blue Plaques
S through to Z
SANDTON: ESTERHUYSEN MONUMENT PLAQUE
The graves of Voortrekkers Jan Christoffel and Maria Magdalena Esterhuysen and their descendants are to be found here.Jan and Maria settled on their farm Zandfontein in 1836 and were the first white family to settle in this area. Jan’s mother, Judith, was the sister of Voortrekker leader Andries Pretorius. Two of Jan’s brothers were killed with Piet Retief when they accompanied him on his historic visit to Dingane in 1838.
SANDTON: THE LITTLE CHURCH IN THE PINES PLAQUE
In the early 1900’s the three daughters of Sytze Wierda ( Government engineer and architect of the Transvaal Republic) lived in this area and formed the core of residents who built this church on land donated by the Obermeyer family. Obermeyer, Wierda’s son-in-law, was responsible for the wood work. “Oom Rooibaart” Miller, who was Adjutant with the ZARP’s during the Anglo-Boer War, did the brickwork and plastering. The church opened in 1924 and is the oldest building in Sandton in its original state. It is now Sandown Union Church.
Designed in 1907 by the English architect Herbert Henry Snowball who saw active service in the Anglo Boer War, this was the home of Dr Everard Digby and his wife Leila. Dr Digby, a dentist, travelled to the City each day by horse.
The house was designed to enjoy magnificent views in all directions and dominated Parkview for many years until tall trees softened its commanding stature.
SAUL "MINUS" MASHININIPLAQUE
SOUTH AFRICAN INSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH
THE MUNRO DRIVE PLAQUE
Completed in 1919, The Munro Drive opened up Lower Houghton for development. Names after John Munro, a director of the Johannesburg Consolidated Investment Company, developer of Houghton Estate, it traverses a steep 900m with a hairpin bend and an impressive retaining wall. The original wall colapsed in 1938, and was rebuilt with dressed stone and an iron railing decorated with the City’s then coat of arms. Its views over the northern suburbs and beyond have made it a much-loved landmark in the City.
THE STONEHOUSE PLAQUE
THE RADIUM BEER HALL PLAQUE
THE TENTS PLAQUE
Pioneering architect Hermann Kallenbach purchased this site in 1909. He and his friend M K Ghandi camped in a bell tent on the hillside until Kallenbach built a thatched stone rondawel. Chandi stayed here with Kallenbach on occasion, as did Indian statesman G.K. Gokhale during his 1912 South African tour. In 1913 the Mountain View property was a gathering point for Satyagraphis during the third Indian civil rights campaign led by Gandhi. In 1923 Kallenbach and Alexander Kennedy designed the main house on the property for the new owner, A. Verwey.
THE WAR ON WAR LEAGUE 1914-1915 PLAQUE
In 1914 Colin Wade, RB Waterson and eight other trade union leaders were held here for three weeks without charge in terms of the Peace Ordinace first introduced by Lord Milner. Several were members of the War on War League which opposed sending South Africans to fight abroad. Many had seen active service in the Anglo Boer War so their pacifism was based on a loathing for the devastation and horrors of the war. Wade was released and never charged; eight others were kipnapped and deported by their own government, causing an international outcry.
THEO MTHEMBU PLAQUE
Corner Mahalafele and Sibeko Streets in Dube, Soweto
Member of the order of Ikhamanga (Silver).
Born in February 1927 in Natal Theo Mthembu’s boxing career started when he was sixteen. In 1948 he became a professional boxer in Johannesburg at the Bantu Men’s Social Centre, but was wounded in cross-fire in a gunpoint, thus ending his career. He turned to training, setting up a boxing academy in Dube and helped found the first non-racial sports movement. Achieving many awards he was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame and honoured with the Order of Iklamanga (Silver) in 2004. A promoter, sports writer and critic, Mthembu trained several champions including Baby Jake Matlala. Theo died a few days short of his 80th birthday in 2007.
TSIETSI MASHININI STATUE PLAQUE
June 16 Interpretation Centre, Mputhi Street, central Western Jabavu
At 8am on June 16 1976, a nineteen year-old Tsietsi Mashinini led students on a peaceful march in protest against Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in black schools around Soweto. Within hours of the march, the police and army opened fire on young unarmed school children, killing hundreds in the months that followed. After Tsietsi died in exile in 1990, his body was brought to Soweto and buried at Avalon Cemetery.
TRANSVAAL CHINESE UNITED CLUB MANSIONS PLAQUE
6 Commissioner Street
Commissioned by the adjoining Club to accommodate Chinese families during the apartheid era, the building was designed in 1940 by architect Wilhelm Pabst, a recent immigrant from Germany. He wrote “I am of the opinion that where functionalism ends, architecture begins.” This building has an extraordinarily dynamic energy. The façade projects and recedes, refusing to be constrained by concepts of rationalism. The delicate aquamarine tiles are durable and a symbol of Kuan-Yin, the much loved Chinese Goddess of Mercy and Compassion.
TURBINE HALL PLAQUE
The Turbine Hall and South Boiler House are superb industrial buildings distinguished by their massive scale, fine proportions, inspiring interior space delicacy of detail. In 2006 the North Boiler House was demolished and in its place a new structure built to accommodate the international headquarters of AngloGold Ashanti. The new structure is skilfully combined with the architecture of the Turbine Hall and the South Boiler House, to retain the aesthetic unity that was a distinguishing mark of the original complex of buildings.
TURBINE SQUARE PLAQUE
The Turbine Hall and South Boiler House are superb industrial buildings distinguished by their massive scale, fine proportions, inspiring interior space and delicacy of detail. In 2006 the North Boiler House was demolished and in its place a new structure built to accommodate the international headquarters of Anglogold Ashanti. The new structure is skillfully combined with the architecture of the Turbine Hall and the South Boiler House, to retain the aesthetic unity that was a distinguishing mark of the original complex of buildings.
TUTU HOUSE PLAQUE
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, world renowned champion of human rights, was rewarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his decades of non-violence struggle for racial equality. In 1995, he was appointed by President Mandela to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
This has been the family home Desmond and Leah Tutu since 1975. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary here, and it continues to be their Johannesburg residence. An addition to the house was designed by architect Joe Nocro in 1990.
Unveilved 15 October 2011.
UNION CASTLE BUILDINGS PLAQUE
This was designed in 1938 by J.A. Moffatt & T.N. Duncan as the Johannesburg office of the Union Castle Mail Steamship Company Limited, founded in by Donald Currie whose name is associated with competitions in cricket and rugby. Until 197 the Union Castle line had regular passenger and freight services between South Africa and England which also carried the mail
VILLA ARCADIA PLAQUE
22 Oxford Rd, Parktown
Villa Arcadia Designed for Randlord Lionel Phillips in 1907, the grandeur of the mansion reflected his importance as a mining magnate.
PQ VUNDLA PLAQUE
1565 Mtipa Street, Soweto
The original building and stables, designed by architect Harvey Clayton in 1903,were built for William Lincoln Honnold, an American mining engineer and his wife, Caroline. They arrived in the Transvaal in 1902. Alterations by Herbert Baker in 1909 changed and enlarged the north facade and added the west wing. Further alterations were done in 1917 by Pearse and Ellis. Honnold was with Consolidated Mines Selection Co. Through his American contacts he helped facilitate part of the establishment of Anglo American Corporation of South Africa, becoming one of its permanent directors.
The house was later occupied by Harold Thomas Dickenson, manager of De Beers Mine. He was involved in the manufacturing munitions during World War I and, in 1936, became a director in the Anglo American group.
3 Junction Road
Designed by Percival Hill Mitchelson for Mr and Mrs Gregory in 1913 this attractive and deceptively asymmetrical house with its contrasting red brick and white trim has large bay windows and a broad veranda which enticing residents and guests into the garden. Mr. Gregory was the Messenger of the Court. He and his wife lived here until 1931 when Mrs AL Golding purchased the property. It was bought by the Municipality in 1970 to be demolished for the M6 motorway, but fortunately was leased to the Children’s Theatre instead.
YE ROKKES PLAQUE
28 Pallinghurst Road, Westcliff
YEOVILLE WATER TOWER PLAQUE
Harley Street Yeoville, Highlands Ridge
ZOO LAKE PLAQUE
Lower Park Drive, Parkview
The park is the best-loved gift to the people of Johannesburg, ever since the lake was built in 1906.
ZOO LAKE CENTENARY PLAQUE
Lower Park Drive & Ennis Road Parkview
Zoo Lake Centenary 1906-2006 In 1980 Eduard Lippet established a forest, known as the Sachsenwald, on part of the farm Braamfontein. Part of this was given to the people of Johannesburg in 1904 for the specific use as a public park and named the Herman Eckstein Park after a leading mining pioneer. In 1906 the City Council built a lake on this section , which was marshland. It immediately became a major attraction and has continued, particularly throughout the apartheid years, to be a source of great pleasure to all the people of Johannesburg.
Join Our Mailing List
Please enter your details in the boxes below to subscribe.