Following hot on the heels of the 'Race to the Rand' here is the third installment of the History of Southern African Railway Series by Peter Ball. The article looks at the role of the railways during the South African War (the Second Anglo-Boer War).

In 2011 bold plans for the demolition of the Village Walk Shopping Centre and the redevelopment of the valuable site were announced (Village Walk is located in the heart of Sandton opposite the Johannesburg Stock Exchange). Many commentators were excited yet cautious when renders for a massive three billion rand mixed use development (shops, offices, hotels and gym) were released. Tenants were given notice and demolition was expected to take place in mid 2012.

A number of inner city commentators have argued that the reuse of the Johannesburg Sun and Carlton Hotel will signal to the country that the CBD is truly back. In his 2011 book Johannesburg Ten Ahead, Gerald Garner emphasised that mothballed properties such as the Johannesburg Sun 'must be prioritised for the inner-city to be truly regenerated'. We cannot wait for the day when either or both of these properties reopen! In the meantime we thought it would interesting to look back at the Johannesburg Sun during its planning stage.

While a number of dates could compete for the honour, the one generally accepted as the day to celebrate Johannesburg's birthday is the 4th October. This was the date set out in President Kruger's famous Proclamation of the 8th September 1886 (repeated on the 15th September) which reads as follows (translated with our emphasis addded):

Proclamation by His Honour the State President

Recently my family and I had an absolutely magical night time visit to the Zoo – Grandson Cayde’s 8th birthday party (some time after his actual birthday). We were a large group of about 49 people – maybe half kids and then all the parents, 4 grandparents plus cousins, aunts and great aunt. It was an amazing experience. The 20 plus children were all under the age of ten.

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