09/30/2018 - 00:00

In the early 1970s a wonderful booklet on the history of the Johannesburg Mayoral Chain was published. It has recently been digitised by Wits Historical Papers. Click here to view. Thank you to Kathy Munro for sharing. Below is the foreword written by the Mayor at the time Patrick Lewis:

It is traditional for most major cities to have a gold chain, the emblem of chief citizenship, for the Mayor to wear on important civic and ceremonial occasions. But there are surely few places in the Western world where the Mayoral Chain is surrounded with more significance and symbolism than in Johannesburg — the City of Gold. Intrinsic value and special sentiment attach to Johannesburg's chain because the precious metal from which it was wrought was mined virtually under our feet. The gold was presented to the city by the industry which, started in 1886 by patient prospectors followed by fortune hunters with looting eyes, swiftly and creditably developed into a highly-organized undertaking which is now a modern-day Colossus. In the past 80 years, South Africa has mined one-third of all the gold produced in the world in the past 10,000 years. It is peculiarly fitting and satisfying that a few ounces of this rich harvest is forever enshrined in our chain. Whenever and wherever I have worn this handsome emblem on the Mayoral round I have been struck by the many citizens, young, middle-aged and old, from plain folk to sophisticated executives, who are fascinated by it, want to touch it, examine it, and ask about its history. This, then, is how the idea evolved for this booklet —a souvenir that can be handed to our visitors and given to schools and libraries. For tourists who literally (as Keats did metaphorically) "travel in the realms of gold, and many goodly states and kingdoms see" I hope this story of our chain will be a happy reminder of their visit to our "golden realm and goodly state". For those who live here it will give a reminder of Johannesburg's history.


Patrick Lewis

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 13:45

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