Benoni town Gauteng, on the Witwatersrand. It
is the distribution center for a gold-mining district and is part
of a large industrial complex known for its iron and steel plants.
The chief manufacture is electrical equipment. Benoni was founded
in 1904. During the violent Witwatersrand miners' strike of
1922, through which white miners sought in vain to prevent mine owners
from employing cheaper black labor, heavy fighting occurred in the
town between miners and the South African military.
Benoni is located just 30km from Johannesburg and just
over 50km from Pretoria.
Did you know?
Benoni's 20,000-capacity Willowmore Park plays host
to two games from Group B in the opening stage of the 2003 World Cricket
After a hard day at the cricket, twitchers had the choice to visit
the Benoni Wetland Area and marvel at the large number of waterfowl,
both indigenous and migratory.
There are also bird sanctuaries on the lakes on the edge of the city
that have a shoreline of over 40km as well parkland and trails to
With a population of over half a million, there are no shortage of
places to eat and drink. But don't expect the choice of cuisine that
you would see in other South African cities more used to welcoming
Benoni's inauspicious beginnings were in 1881 when
then surveyor-general Johan Rissik found it difficult to assign
title deeds to all unclaimed state property. He named the area Benoni
(son of my sorrows), after the name given by Rachel to her son
in the biblical Book of Genesis. In September 1887, gold was discovered
and the Chimes Mine was established by Cornishmen. The village became
known as "Little Cornwall" for a time.
Sir George Farrar, the chairman of a mining company, undertook the
beautification of the rapidly growing mining town in 1904. Minewater
was channelled into a band of marshland, and reservoirs stocked with
fish were created. Today these reservoirs remain and the area is dotted
with many lakes where people fish, boat and relax.
Thousands of trees were also planted in the new suburbia and it achieved
municipal status in 1907.
In 1922 the Rand Revolt (or 1922 Strike) broke out throughout the
mines on the Witwatersrand and thousands of white miners went on strike.
The strike was partly led by the South African Communist Party
and was not well received by the South African Government so
soon after the Russian Communist Revolution of 1917.
The strike quickly degenerated into open revolt, with armed miners
fighting the South African police and army in the streets. The revolt
lasted for about a year and the miners were bombed by the newly formed
South African Air Force (SAAF) during this time. Some of the
SAAF aeroplanes were shot down by the miners by groundfire. During
the revolt, Benoni was used as one of the headquarters of the miners
and much fighting took place in and around the area. The Benoni
Museum details this episode in the town's history.
During the Apartheid Era designated townships for Blacks were established
outside Benoni, namely Daveyton and Wattville. The township of Actonville
was established for the habitation of Indians, whilst Benoni proper
was reserved for 'whites only'. These various suburbs remain although
the town is today relatively well integrated and all race-groups may
live anywhere they please.