Tag Archives: SOUTH AFRICA

A Canadian in Johannesburg: Braamfontein cemetery

While wandering around central Johannesburg’s Braamfontein Cemetery, I came across an imposing monument to British soldiers who lost their lives in the South Africa’s Boer War of 1899 to 1902. From Britain’s perspective, the war was all about the maintenence and control of empire. Meanwhile, for Britain’s Afrikaans-speaking ‘Boer’ opponents the war was fought to defend the independence […]

From Kent to the Transvaal: Aunt Grace in Johannesburg’s Collectors Treasury

I hardly know anything about Grace, my father’s aunt and the sister of my grandmother, Edith. Grace Goodbody, as she was then, was born in 1891 in Maidstone, Kent, where she and Edith were brought up in their father’s pub, the Fortune of War. In 1919 Grace married Dublin-born Frederick Woodhead, and soon afterwards the couple left England to […]

Death in early Johannesburg: Braamfontein Cemetery

Shortly before visiting South Africa, I read Lost and Found in Johannesburg,* Mark Gevisser’s wonderful memoir combining family history with an exploration of the ruthlessly fashioned spatial absurdities of the city of his birth. As a child obsessed with maps, Gevisser noticed that parts of Johannesburg seemed uncharted, that city’s geography was “bizarre” and “eccentric”. Neighbouring areas – […]