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Krugersdorp History

Visited 9th November 2020

It was my first opportunity to visit Krugersdorp as a guide and discover some of the early findings of this historical city, now part of the Mogale City Local Municipality. The early inhabitants in this area, were known as the Batswana people, this is part of the Tswana-speaking people that dominate in this area. One of the early leaders Kgosi Mogale wa Mogale was born in 1798 in Wolhuterskop and a member of the Royal Family, he from an early age developed as an astute leader living in the time of the Mfecane he was able to guide this group through the period of Mzilikazi until he was driven out into present day Zimbabwe in 1837, by the White Pioneers, with the help of the Batswana and the Barolong people these being the Bafokeng and the Bakgatla.

The White Pioneers trickled into this area from 1837 onwards, mainly farmers who lived off the proceeds of their cattle and hunting. In 1839 the farm Paardeplaats on which Krugersdorp was built belonged to the Voortrekker Leader Andries Pretorius. His nephew Martiens Pretorius (known as ‘Vaal Martiens’) farmed horses and was a supplier of horses to the farming community. On the death of Andries Pretorius in 1853, Martiens inherited the farm and the original stone kraal known as Pretoriuskraal can be seen in Blouberg Street in Noorheuwel.

Peoples Assembly at Paardekraal 1880

In 1877, the British from the Cape colony annexed the Transvaal (ZAR) and declared it part of the Carnavon plan for Southern Africa. This was done without a shot being fired and the British forces were now preparing to engage Cetswayo and the Zulu forces in the Anglo-Zulu war which lasted until 1880. On the third public gathering (Volksvergaderings), on the 10th December 1880 between 6000 and 8000 Boers gathered on horseback under the guidance of Rev. Nic van Warmelo they made a vow, cast a stone in a pile – the Boer commando left following this meeting, there were 4 battles – the Battle of Bronkhorstspruit (20/12/1880) the Battle of Laingsnek (28/01/1881) , the Battle of Schuinshoogte (8/02/1881) and the Battle of Amajuba – 27 February 1881 – the war was over, the British suffered an outright defeat Maj. Gen. Sir George Pomery Colley died in the battle and was buried on the mountain. The peace agreement with Gen Piet Joubert was signed by Sir Evelyn Wood which handed back to the Orange Free State and the Transvaal (ZAR) their full independence.

Unveiling of the Paardekraal Monument

16th December, 1881
A huge gathering was arranged on 16th December, 1881 at Paardekraal, it was a religious gathering (Geloftefees) and it was decided to hold an annual religious festival, and it was decided to build a Monument where the stone pile was packed designed Zytske Wierda, the State architect the monument was inaugurated in 1883. Gold Mining – 1880Early gold mining activities in the Krugersdorp region started in 1880 ahead of the Witwatersrand, and these were at the Blaaubank Mine (Magaliesburg) and the Kromdraai Mine in the Cradle of Hope. Evidence of digging activities can be found on privately owned farmland, i.e. on the farm Honingklip.

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