Boksburg at a glance
Boksburg is a city with 471,121 inhabitants on the East Rand of Gauteng province of South Africa. Gold was discovered in Boksburg in 1887. It was named after the State Secretary of the South African Republic, W. Eduard Bok. The Main Reef Road linked Boksburg to all the other major mining towns on the Witwatersrand and the Angelo Hotel (1887) was used as a staging post.
Boksburg is now part of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, that includes much of the East Rand.
The Mining Commissioner Montague White built a large dam which, empty for years, was dubbed White's Folly until a flashflood in 1889 silenced detractors. The 150,000 square metre dam is now the Boksburg Lake, and is surrounded by lawns, trees, and terraces.
Originally, Boksburg was laid out in 1887 to serve the surrounding gold mines, and named after the State Secretary of the South African Republic, Eduard Bok. The Main Reef Road linked Boksburg to all the other major mining towns on the Witwatersrand and the Angelo Hotel was used as a production post. A railway was built to link Boksburg to Johannesburg in 1890.
Boksburg lake made world news in 1989 when the newly elected Conservative Party municipality decided to fence off the lake and prohibit non-whites from using the facility.
Segregation policies were taken to such an extreme that when council granted transfer of lease of the Golden Lake Restaurant on the lake premises from S.Y Ho to another Chinese woman, S.Y Yip, it was with the provision that the new lease barred nonwhites-including Chinese, from dining there. Controversy surrounding the safety of the lake was created when Councellor Stephanie Greyling made the following statement: “the lake is now safe…Boksburg Lake was like a second Chicago with more than a 100 murders in 18 months…”
However official figures were given as 27, and this included the number of people who died in the neighbouring Boksburg Benoni Hospital. Statistics released by the offices of the Minister of Law and Order listed only two murders at Boksburg Lake from November 1986 until November 1988”
As a result of the council’s policies, blacks boycotted the CBD, and commercial sales dropped 40% to 70%. Also, The Lake became the focal point on the East Rand for violent racial clashes between Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) supporters and African National Congress (ANC) supporting Coloureds and Blacks from the neighbouring townships. The decision to re-introduce segregation at the facilities sparked off a local and international uproar, with local Coloured and Black residents initiating a yearlong boycott of shops in the CBD.
Chris Hani, leader of the South African Communist Party and chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC), was assassinated outside his Dawn Park, Boksburg home in 1993 and is buried in the town's South Park cemetery.
Boksburg boasts a diversified industrial and mining centre. It has become one of the most important gold-producing towns on the Witwatersrand. Boksburg is also any shoppers delight. It boasts the East Rand Mall which is one of the most popular and biggest malls in Gauteng.
Interesting facts about Boksburg:
• Chris Hani, leader of the South African Communist Party and chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC), was assassinated outside his Dawn Park, Boksburg home in 1993 and is buried in the town.
• Boksburg is the birthplace of Gerrie "the Boksburg Bomber" Coetzee, former WBA heavyweight boxing champion of the world.
• James Phillips wrote a song called "Boksburg Bomber".
• Eddie Cik, local wakeskater, was recently given the Triple Solly medal for pulling off a triple 180 sollyfish on his wakeskate at Donald Duck park. Despite breaking a leg in the process, Eddie maintains wakeskating popularity by teaching small homeless children to wakeskate from the shoreline.