Klerksdorp is one of the biggest cities in the North West Province of South Africa. It’s situated 169 km from Johannesburg.
Many of you reading this article probably don’t know much about it. Today I’m educating you a bit.
Here are 20 facts you might not have not known about Klerksdorp:
1. People have been living here for more than 150 years
Klerksdorp was founded in 1837 and is one of the oldest European settlements in the old Transvaal province of South Africa.
2. The city is part of the City of Matlosana municipality
The towns of Stilfontein, Orkney, Kanana, Khuma, Hartbeesfontein and Tigane and the city of Klerksdorp all fall under this municipality.
3. It’s named after Jacob de Clerq
It was first named “Clerqsdorp”, but was later renamed to “Klerksdorp”. De Clerq was the first magistrate North of the Vaal River.
4. It’s the birthplace of Desmond Tutu
The former Anglican archbishop and nobel price winner was born here in October 1931.
5. It’s bigger than you think
Today +/- 400,000 people live in the area around Klerksdorp (including Stilfontein, Orkney, Kanana, Khuma, Hartbeesfontein and Tigane).
6. It has a huge shopping centre
The city’s Matlosana Mall is the largest shopping centre in the North West Province.
7. Gold was discovered near Klerksdorp in 1886
M.G. Jansen van Vuuren discovered it and thousands of fortune seekers flocked to the area. But, they moved away in the late 1890s because sophisticated equipment was required to mine the gold.
8. The town’s first shop was opened in 1865
James A. Taylor opened up a trading post. He later partnered with Tomas Leask (who moved to South Africa from Glasgow, Scotland).
9. Two battles took place here in the 2nd Boer War
During the 2nd Boer War (between 1899-1902) the battle for Ysterspruit and the Battle of Rooiwal happened near the town.
10. The town’s biggest newspaper has been published for more than 100 years
The Klerksdorp Record has been published since August 1899. The newspaper was originally named The Klerksdorp Mining Record.
11. The town’s mining industry was revived in 1932
Large mining companies started operating in this year and the town underwent an economic revival. This accelerated after World War II.
12. There was a concentration camp near Klerksdorp in the 2nd Boer War
The British operated the camp between 1899 and 1902 to house Boer women and children.
13. Klerksdorp was only connected by rail 60 years after the area was first settled
14. The city was almost one of the host cities for the 2010 FIFA World Cup
Harry Oppenheimer stadium (which is situated in the area) was originally considered as one of the host cities, but lost its bid to the Royal Bafokeng Stadium near Rustenburg.
15. Strange Spheres have been collected in the area
They are small objects, often spherical to disc-shaped that have been collected by miners and rockhounds from 3-billion-year-old pyrophyllite deposits mined by Wonderstone Ltd near Ottosdal.
16. It’s the home of the largest agricultural company in the Southern Hemipshere
The company is called Senwes and has been operating for more than 100 years.
17. It’s the home of the largest maize silo in South Africa
It’s one of SA’s agricultural hubs. Besides maize, sorghum, groundnuts and sunflower seed are also produced in the area.
18. The town had its own stock exchange in 1886
This happened thanks to the gold rush. There were also 70 taverns in Klerksdorp at the time.
19. The Klerksdorp Museum was a prison until 1890
The beautiful sandstone building, on the corner of Margarieta and Lombard streets, dates back to 1891 and was once a prison built in response a rise in crime rates after the discovery of gold in 1885.
Today, the building houses archaeological and geological exhibitions, as well as a variety of displays based on the region’s cultural and agricultural past, as well as the town’s heritage.
20. Goudkoppie (‘Gold Hill’) is the city’s latest tourist attraction
This provincial Heritage Site is situated near both the N12 highway and the Johannesburg-Cape Town railway line. The hill is the site of the remnants of 19th-century mining.
There are also the remains of Sotho and Tswana homesteads and stone-age tools scattered across the hill. Visitors can explore a replica of a British blockhouse used in the second Anglo-Boer War.
Well, there you have it, 20 facts you might not have know about Klerksdorp.
Watch this space for regular updates in the 10 facts section and Facts category on Running Wolf’s Rant.