KLERKSDORP – THE CITY OF PEOPLE!
History of Klerksdorp
Klerksdorp originated in the late 1830s when the first Voortrekkers
settled on the banks of the Schoonspruit (“ clear stream”) which
flows through the town. Prominent among the first settlers was C M
du Plooy who appropriated a farm of some 16 000 ha and called it
Elandsheuwel( “ hill of the eland “). Other trekkers joined him
there and, in exchange for help with the construction of a dam and
irrigation canal were granted portions of the farm as well as
communal grazing rights on the rest of the land. This collection of
smallholdings was later given the name of Klerksdorp in honor of the
first landdrost ( magistrate ) of the area, Jacob de Clerq.
The tranquility of this rural paradise was shattered in August 1886
when A P Roos discovered gold on the farm Rietkuil ( “ pool of reeds
“ ) and on the village ‘s commonage. In the same year, what turned
out to be the world’s richest gold reef was discovered on the
Witwatersrand about 160 km to the east. The world was in the grip of
gold fever and the inevitable rush hit Klerksdorp as well. The 4 000
would be diggers who descended on the village were asked to draw
lots for mining rights on public land.
A shanty town sprang up virtually overnight on the other bank of
Schoonspruit and within three years of the first discovery the “ new
town” boasted about 70 taverns and a stock exchange of its own.
Before the latter building was put up , “high change” was called at
the Exchange Hotel. The diggers of Klerksdorp soon made the same sad
discovery as those on the Witwatersrand : the gold was there but it
demanded expensive and sophisticated equipment to recover. One by
one the Klerksdorp mining companies folded and the diggers moved to
tile Witwatersrandsand elsewhere.
The railway from Krugersdorp reached Klerksdorp on 3 August 1897 and
that from Kimberley in 1906. Today Klerksdorp is the hub of the gold
and uranium mining industry of the Far West Rand.
The 3 500 km˛ district is also known for its fine herds of Sussex
cattle, the town being the headquarters of the South African Sussex
Cattle Breeders Association.
The most important crops are maize, sorghum, groundnuts and
sunflower seed. Klerksdorp boasts the largest maize silo in the
country as well as the largest agricultural co-operative in the
southern hemisphere, Senwes Cooperative
This mining town on the Vaal River, immortalized in the Afrikaans
television comedy series Orkney Snork Nie, was proclaimed on 20
March 1940 but its history goes back to the gold rush days of the
One of the pioneer diggers drawn to the Western Transvaal by the
gold discoveries of the late 1880s was Simon Fraser, whose claim was
on the farm Witkoppies (white hills ).
Fraser hailed from the Orkney Island off the north coast of Scotland
and called his mine Orkney. Hence the name of the town.
Like Orkney, Stilfontein has a Scottish connection in its origins.
Charles Scott who hailed from Strathmore country in Scotland,
acquired a farm in these parts and called it Strathvaal. In 1888 he
discovered the outcrop of a gold reef on this farm and named it
Strathmore Reef. Upon Charles’s death, his son Jack continued the
search and acquired an option on the farm Stilfontein (“ quiet
Subsequent drilling operations confirmed the presence of the reef
which gave very good assay results.
In 1949 Stilfontein Gold Mining Company was registered and a town
laid out. Production started in 1952. Today the town is home to men
and women employed on four important mines in the area –Stilfontein,
Hartebeesfontein, Zandpan and Buffelsfontein.
Because it is relatively young, the town ‘s layout is based on
modern town-planning methods concepts and incorporates several
parks, gardens and fountains. The four mines jointly developed the
Strathvaal Recreation Club.
The Khuma suburb has its origin as the farm “Wildebeespan”. With the
foundation/ erection of Scott Shaft, would-be employees rushed from
all over the country to the Khuma suburb. Education of the children
took place on an informal basis. The first school in the Khuma
suburb was known as “Wildebeespan Bantoeskool” . The school was
housed in better buildings and was from then on known as Tukisang
Primary School. The name Khuma means “riches”.
There are two stories, both related to the early Voortrekkers, to
account for the origins of this town 30 km north-west of Klerksdorp
– Ottosdal branch railway line. According to one story, two men by
the name of De Clerq went hunting, wounded a Hartebees and found it
dead at a spring which they then named Hartebeesfontein.
The second story goes that when in 1837 Voortrekker leader Hendrik
Potgieter led a punitive expedition against Mzilikazi’s impis, some
of his men were left behind in a laager near here. Bored, one of the
men went hunting. He wounded a Hartebeest gave chase and came upon a
bubbling spring. After the campaign had ended he returned to the
area where he acquired a farm which he named Hartebeesfontein.
In the Anglo-Boer War Hartebeesfontein was the scene of a battle
between a Boer commando and Lord Methuen’s forces on 18 February
1901. Prior to this and later the farm changed hands several times.
Eventually owner H F Moller subdivided the land for a village which
was proclaimed a town.
Used with permission
www.yourcity.co.za for local news and view!
HERITAGE SITES WORTH A VISIT
Goudkoppie Heritage Site 018 – 464 2229
Klerksdorp Museum 018 – 462 3546
Fountain Villa Guest Lodge 018 – 464 1394
Faan Meintjies Nature Reserve 018 – 464 2229
Margaret Mine Shaft for Mining Tourism 018 – 484 5911
Boshworth Farm for Rock Paintings 018 – 464 2229
General Hospital 018 – 406 4600
Wilmed Hospital 018 – 468 7700
Anncron Hospital 018 – 468 1031
Fire Brigade 018 – 464 8020
Fire Brigade 018 – 462 2835 (After hours)
Estate Agent (HART!) 018 – 464 1191
For a comprehensive list of Businesses in and around Klerksdorp,
For graphic design, web design & hosting, please visit
April - Formula 1 Power Boating
May - Klerksdorp Air Show
June - Mampoer Festival
September - Street Festival
October - Stilfontein Rose Festival
November - Flamwood Night Walk
December - Have a “Hart” Christmas Challenge
(Call Steve to find out more about this Community Project – 082 518
Watch this space for upcoming events! We will keep you posted.
For more information on “what’s happening” in Klerksdorp, please
call the Tourism Information Centre: 018 – 464 2229