In the article below, Lucille Davie recalls the tragedy of the Westdene Dam Disaster. The piece was originally published on the Brand South Africa website on 20 June 2013. Davie's story was sparked by a visit by then mayor Parks Tau to various sites commemorating the loss of children. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
This wonderful album was published by Paul Schaefer and Company of Cape Town, a well-known compiler of souvenir books. The cover photograph in the oval inset shows the original Park Station which came to Johannesburg from the Netherlands in 1896. The station was designed by Jacob Klinkhammer. It was the point of arrival for visitors to Johannesburg in the early 20th century so this image is an appropriate entry portal to the town.
The Vaal river, a formidable obstacle at times, had to be crossed by the early settlers to open the way to the North. One of the crossing points in the days just after the Voortrekkers arrived was Viljoen's Drift. Josua Jacobus Viljoen had occupied the farm, Oshel, to the south of the river opposite what is now Vereeniging. The name Oshel (translated ox hell) came from the sandy ground which made life difficult for the oxen pulling a wagon.
In the article below, well-known writer Lucille Davie unpacks some of the complexity behind the life and personality of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. The piece was written on 23 August 2013 for the Media Club South Africa website shortly after the publication of Madikizela-Mandela's book 491 Days: Prisoner number 1323/69. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
On Saturday 7th April 2018, the excellent Joburg Collectable Book Fair at the Rand Club saw at least ten dealers displaying their books, antiquarian maps and prints. Many rare and unusual Johannesburg books were on sale. The event was a huge success with visitors able to enjoy tours of the Club led by Brett McDougall and Brian McKechnie, musical entertainment by Tony Bentell and Selwyn Klass and several interesting talks by Isabel Hofmeyr, Hamilton Wende, James Findlay and Kathy Munro.
In the article below, well-known journalist Lucille Davie explores the rich social history of the Bantu Men's Social Centre and Dorkay House in downtown Johannesburg. Both buildings have received blue plaques since her article was first published on the City of Joburg's website on 2 November 2006. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
My acknowledgement and huge thanks to Clive Chipkin, Marc Latilla and Alkis Doucakis who generously gave me their views and drove me to improvements and further research. Thank you.
During the restoration of the Pretoria Railway Station in the early 2000s, a swastika was found in the plasterwork above the clocktower. In the article below, originally published on the Brand South Africa website on 19 March 2002, Lucille Davie unpacks some of the theories behind the Swastika. She also takes an in depth look at the restoration process. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
A short distance from the modern Fourways CBD lies a highly significant gem from another era... an old house that once belonged to the Van der Walt brothers who farmed watermelons in the area.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie uncovers some of the powerful and painful history of Sophiatown. She highlights the origins of the suburb, its vibrant cultural scene and the tragedy of the forced removals. The piece was originally published on the City of Joburg's website on 20 March 2003.
Since June 2000 more than R21-million in land compensation claims has been paid out to ex-Sophiatown residents. This adds up to 544 claims of R40 000 each.
The article below, written by journalist Lucille Davie, was originally published on the Brand South Africa website on 26 July 2013. It looks at details of Operation Mayibuye as well as an ingenious ANC arms smuggling operation that ran in the 1980s and early 1990s. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
When George Harrison discovered the Main Reef of gold at Langlaagte farm in 1886, it was believed by many to be an old river that had been turned on its side. They therefore believed the gold could not continue for more than about 30 to 50 meters underground.
Over the holidays I was given a unique Christmas gift by my friend, Peter Digby who shares my enthusiasm for Johannesburg heritage items. It was a single old yellowed newspaper page, dated 9th November 1965, from The Star Newspaper. The page was saved in a cupboard of the Digby home because it carried an unusual story. The headline was: “Fine old stone in a new wall“.
Killarney is one of the great historic suburbs of Johannesburg. With its majestic buildings from different eras, there is a great case for it to be declared a heritage area. The article below, written by journalist Lucille Davie, is packed with fascinating details on the people, history and architecture of a majestic neighbourhood. The piece was originally published on the City of Joburg's website on 18 January 2012. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
The passages below, taken from the City of Joburg's heritage inventory form, reveal the captivating history behind the Indian War Memorial. The three metre high sandstone memorial stands at the summit of the Observatory Ridge with majestic views over the surrounding suburbs.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie explores the painful history behind the Worker's Library and Museum in Newtown. The piece was originally published on the City of Joburg's website on 10 October 2008. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
The article below, written by journalist and Joburg explorer Lucille Davie, looks at the layered history and significance of Johannesburg's markets over the years. It was originally published on the City of Johannesburg's website on 9 January 2004. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
The article below looks at the fascinating story of how Alexandra survived demolition attempts during the apartheid years. It was written by passionate Joburger and well known journalist Lucille Davie for the City of Joburg's website on 6 October 2003. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
Established during 1786, Graaff-Reinet is the fourth oldest magistrate district in South Africa. At the time, this town was also the most important Eastern Cape based interior centre of trade in South Africa in that it was on the route of many travellers, mainly to and from the Algoa Bay harbour.
Below is a fascinating article on the origins and development of the famous Chappies brand. It was written by well known journalist Lucille Davie on 10 March 2003 and appeared on the City of Joburg's website. Read all the way to the bottom for a 2018 update. Click here to check out more of Davie's work.