Book Review Type: 
Battle of the Books

Parktown centenary Souvenir, 1892- 1992, The past with a future. Published by the Parktown and Westcliff Heritage Trust, Editorial board: Den Adams, Flo Bird, Leigh Jackson and Carmen Welz. This souvenir booklet in A4 format celebrated the centenary of Parktown in 1992, it has the feel of a home made newsletter with a strong promotional bias , it mixes snippets of history about institutions and people with advertisements by local sponsors . 1992 is now ancient history. Three substantial articles alone make this a collectors item : the architectural styles , the landscape heritage and a history of the suburb. Poor quality black and white photographs disappoint. Best feature is the copy of the fold out map of Parktown, Westcliff, Parkview, Parkwood and Forest Town of the Braamfontein Company, circa 1892 in sepia tones and a 1910 map of the municipal water supply.

2015 Price Guide: R50 to R100 Out of print


The fold out map



Luli Callinicos: Who Built Jozi? Discovering memory at Wits Junction, Wits University Press, 2012. This book commemorates the redevelopment of  a part of Parktown (bounded by Ridge Road, Junction Avenue, Park Lane and Boundary Road) as a new residential 1200 bed complex for The University of the Witwatersrand, opened in 2012. The architects paid particular attention to the preservation of a number of old heritage Parktown homes, the landscape and some older residences. In addition this project ensured the preservation and protection of the beacon marking the northern point of the Randjeslaagte Triangle of Johannesburg, with the Andrew Landsay and Spaza Art map mosaic. The book attempts to see Parktown from the perspective of the servants, workers, mine labourers, the underclass in the society, rather than from the perspective of the magnates, landowners and rand lords.

The book blends the stories of the origins of human settlement, the importance of paleoanthropology, the history of Wits University, Johannesburg's mining roots. It addresses the inequalities of the modern city and the reinterpretation of history and heritage in the architecture of the new residences at Wits Junction.  A wonderful collection of old photographs sourced from Museum Africa and the Wits archives adds interest.  I particularly liked the mix of migrant labourers songs and the approach to naming the residences to honour the many national origins of the men and women who built Johannesburg.

2015 Price Guide: R220  In print and available from Wits Press



Kathy Munro is an Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand. She enjoyed a long career as an academic and in management at Wits University. She trained as an economic historian. She is an enthusiastic book person and has built her own somewhat eclectic book collection over 40 years. Her interests cover Africana, Johannesburg history, history, art history, travel, business and banking histories.  She researches and writes on historical architecture and heritage matters. She is a member of the Board of the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation and is a docent at the Wits Arts Museum. She is currently working on a couple of projects on Johannesburg architects and is researching South African architects, war cemeteries and memorials. Kathy is a member of the online book community the Library thing and recommends this cataloging website and worldwide network as a book lover's haven.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - 14:37
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