Focus on Benoni...
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?
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 suit everyone.
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 tourists.
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.