| South Africa|
| West Rand|
Randfontein is a gold mining city in western Gauteng, South Africa, 40 km (25 mi) west of Johannesburg. With the Witwatersrand gold rush in full swing, mining financier JB Robinson bought the farm Randfontein and, in 1889, floated the Randfontein Estates Gold Mining Company. The town was established in 1890 to serve the new mine and was administered by Krugersdorp until it became a municipality in 1929. Apart from having the largest stamp mill in the world (used in early paper making for preparing the pulp), Randfontein, like many of the other outlying areas of Johannesburg, is essentially a rural collection of farms and small holdings in a particularly beautiful part of Gauteng.
As of 2011, Randfontein has a population of 149,286, which incorporates Mohlakeng and Toekomsrus. (In 2001 the propulation was 128,731.) The average elevation of the town is 1709m above sea level. The total municipal area, after recent restructuring, is 475km2 (183 sq mi).
Randfontein Estates has the largest stamp mill in the world, with 600 stamps.
Randfontein’s existence dates back to the 1550s when the AmaNdebele lived as one nation at Emhlangeni (today’s Randfontein area) under King Mhlanga approximately between 1550-1580. The name of Emhlangeni is translated today into the Sesotho language as Mohlakeng, which is one of the southeastern suburbs of the town. Randfontein was established formally in 1890 and proclaimed a municipality in 1929.
Some important dates in Randfonteins history: 1857: Bootha and Jonker families arrive in the area. (They owned the farm Groot Elandsvlei where the suburbs of Randgate, Loumarina, and Wilbotsdal are today.) 1874: Gold discovered in Blaauwbank stream near Magaliesburg by Henry Lewis an Australian propector. 1886: Discovery of gold on the Rand by Harrison and Walker; start of the Reef gold rush. 1886: JB Robinson arrives on the Reef; starts prospecting in the Randfontein area. 1889: Randfontein Estates Gold Mining Company (REGM) registered. 1890: JB Robinson buys properties and farms in the Randfontein district. 1894: The first shop, Fedlers, opens. 1901: The first car, owned by Hector Mackay, arrives in town. 1904: Chinese miners arrive in Randfontein. 1929: Randfontein Municipality established; independent from Krugersdorp which managed the town from 1903. 1979: Randfontein celebrates 50 years as an independent municipality. 2004: Hilton Hamann writes a comprehensive history on Randfontein. His book Randfontein: A Town Like No Other is freely available via the local publicity association. This marked the 75th anniversary of Randfontein.
The West Rand of Gauteng is a particularly pretty part of the province flanked to the west by the Magaliesberg mountain range and to the northwest the Cradle of Humankind. Places of interest and of noteworthy historical value in the immediate vicinity include:
(1) Graves of the fallen British soldiers during the culmination of the Jameson Raid.
(2) Mining Commissioner and Telegraph Offices in Kocksoord.
(1) Krugersdorp Game Reserve, Krugersdorp West (15 km)
(2) Hector Pieterson Memorial Museum, Orlando West (16 km)
(3) Sterkfontein Caves, Hekpoort (19 km)
(4) Walter Sisulu Bontanical Gardens, Roodepoort (19 km)
(5) Maropeng Visitor Centre, Hekpoort (26 km)
(6) Blaauwbank Historical Gold Mine, Magaliesburg (26 km)
(7) Magaliesburg town centre(26 km)
(8) Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, Hekpoort (26 km)
(9) Hartbeespoort Dam and surrounds (75 km)
(10) Hartbeespoort Cableway, Hartbeespoort (80 km)