Established in 1887, Boksburg was originally a mining town. Now a mishmash of old and new establishments, the suburb is well worth visiting. Not only is there great entertainment here, but Northrand Road is famed for its variety of cuisine options. However, if you want something a little more laid back and cultured, go on a tour of the centre of town. Here, you can find some true hidden heritage gems.
Old Boksburg Post Office
The Old Post Office on Market Street, designed by Sytze Wierda (the chief architect of the South African Public Works Department) in 1898, still stands today. With its brick facade and red tiled roof, the building stands out as an icon of history. Now used as a community centre and theatre space, the Old Boksburg Post Office continues its life. Declared a national monument in 1996, this old building is worth taking a moment to admire.
The government of 1887 established Boksburg to service the housing and recreational needs of nearby gold mine workers. What started out as nothing more than a few roads and small houses, soon became a vibrant suburb. Of course, with the start of a new community, there needs to be space for regulation and law to be ironed out. That’s where the Boksburg Law Courts come into the picture. Also designed by Sytze Wierda, the law courts were completed in 1891.
The building is just a skip away from the Old Post Office, so you need not travel far to see its colonial-style pillars and stark white finishing. Originally used by magistrates and staff, the Boksburg Municipality commissioned the court in 1958. Declared a national monument in 1963, to preserve the court architecture and allow the building to remain a part of the community as a centre for social and municipal gatherings.
The Chris Hani House
While it hasn’t been declared a Boksburg heritage site yet, Chris Hani’s home in Dawn Park is earmarked to be turned into a museum. Honouring the life of the struggle stalwart, this museum will offer visitors greater insight into his work. Hani was assassinated in the driveway of this very home in 1993. You can visit the house to see a memorial outline of his body on the driveway, which includes quotes from a speech Hani presented shortly before his untimely passing.
From here, make your way to South Park Cemetery. The South African Heritage Resource Agency declared Hani’s grave, as well as the Chris Hani Memorial and Remembrance Walk, as national heritage sites in 2017. The memorial takes the shape of a circle, symbolising unity, equality and inclusion. The Remembrance Walk similarly takes you on a contemplative journey, all the way back to the memorial site. There is also a Wall of Remembrance at the cemetery. Celebrating the lives of martyrs who died fighting for freedom.
While this walk may seem slightly sombre, there is worth in remembering how far our country has come. Visit this lesser known Boksburg heritage site to engage with the past and to find a greater appreciation for our democracy.
Have you visited any of these Boksburg heritage sites before? Let us know about your experience!