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History

The historical past of Krugersdorp dates back to the pre-historic period of the Australopithecus Africanus and the Stone- and Iron Age communities of the present Krugersdorp region.At the time the first white pioneers settled in this region in the nineteenth century,the area was unoccupied.The Batswana people fled from the region during the period of the Difaqane to settle west from Krugersdorp near the present town of Rustenburg.

Krugersdorp owes it’s origin to two important events in the history of South Africa,namely The Transvaal War of independence (1881) and the discovery of the Witwatersrand Goldfields (1886). These two occurences with their far-reaching political and economic consequences,were mainly instrumental in causing the establishment of two townships,originally apart,but subsequently united under the name of Krugersdorp.

The one township became the business center of the West Rand Goldfields,while the other sprang into existence by reason of the position and significance of the Paardekraal Monument.

On April 12 1877,the South African Republic was annexed to the British Crown by Sir Theophilus Shepstone.Repeated protests were made by the burghers against this action,mass meetings were held in various places,deputations were sent to England and the Cape Colony,conferences took place with the High Commissioner for South Africa and the British Authorities in the Transvaal-but all to no effect. Then came a great gathering of burghers at Paardekraal (8-14 December 1880),where it was decided to set up a Triumvirate,with full power to act,consisting of Paul Kruger,Piet Joubert and MW Pretorius.

Between five and six thousand armed men attended that gathering and swore to stand together,to the death if necessary,until their independence had been restored.As proof of this adherence to this national movement,each burgher placed a stone on a cairn,which was to be a lasting monument to their national pledge.Following on this,the War Of Independence broke out,and freedom was regained within a few months.

Shortly after the Pretoria Convention (11 October 1881) which terminated the war,it was resolved by the Volksraad that 16 December should be set aside every year for celebrations and as a day of thanksgiving for the victory over Dingaan,also for commemorating the restoration of independence.In December 1881 the first celebrations were held at Paardekraal,but in July 1883 the Volksraad resolved that,after the forthcoming celebrations,these should be subsequently held once every five years instead of annualy.

In 1890 the Government erected a monument over the sacred pile of stones which had been set up at Paardekraal.Accordingly,at the next great Dingaan day observances in 1891,the monument was unveiled by President Kruger. The Paardekraal Monument has since played an important role in the cultural activities of the Afrikaans speaking community and the development of Afrikaner Nationalism in South Africa. The stones which had composed the original cairn was,about the beginning of 1901, removed by some ill-disposed persons and deposited at some unknown place.

On April 26 1887,the year following the second five-yearly national gathering at Paardekraal,the executive council of the Republic resolved to purchase a portion of the farm Paardekraal for the purpose of establishing a freehold township,to be known as Krugersdorp.This date may therefore be looked upon as the date of the foundation of Krugersdorp.

In July 1887,Mr.Pritchard,the Government Land Surveyor,arrived and outspanned his cart near the Monument.His instructions were to survey a township approxamately 1000 yards to the south of the Memorial.

The existance of the gold reef along the Witwatersrand was already well known, and thousands,seeking their fortunes,had pitched their tents,or huts, in all directions. The administration of the gold diggings had,within a few months, assumed such proportions that the government was obliged on 1 November 1888,to proclaim Krugersdorp as a seperate goldfield.The area then included Florida,Roodepoort, Randfontein, Doornkop and Blaauwbank. About 400 more ‘stands’ (forming the present Lewisham) were,at the time,offered for sale and enormous prices were realized.