Roodepoort is situated in Johannesburg, Gauteng. It was formerly an independent municipality, but become part of the Johannesburg municipality in the late 1990’s together with Randburg and Sandton. Traditionally, Roodepoort has been regarded as part of the West Rand, but it was not made part of the new West Rand District Municipality.
Brothers Fred and Harry Struben were granted concession in 1884 to mine the area known today as Roodepoort. The brothers were joined by a swarm of gold diggers when George Harrison’s find in Langlaagte came to light. Though the Struben’s brothers’ Confidence Reef bore little gold, the town that grew around it became the Roodepoort Municipality in 1904. Roodepoort became a city in 1977, incorporating the towns Hamburg, Florida and Maraisburg.
Roodepoort is now a mix of residential suburbs, agricultural holdings, mining and commercial activity. Some of the suburbs in Roodepoort include, Allen’s Nek, Fleurhof, Helderkruin, Florida, Honey Hills, Radiokop, Wilgeheuwel, and Little Falls. Roodepoort has expanded to such an extent that it has all but merged with Johannesburg’s outer suburbs. Besides small-scale agricultural holdings, commerce prospers in the form of giant malls such as Westgate and Clearwater.
The Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens, Johannesburg’s most famous botanical garden, is situated in Roodepoort. This city is also home to several private and state schools, including Trinity House and Charter College. Roodepoort offers a wide range of restaurants and shopping centers.
Residential areas in the new developing parts of Roodepoort are expanding at a rapid pace. This growth is said to be fueled by various factors such as the fast-growing Black middle class, the close proximity to other large Gauteng cities and established and advanced infrastructure.
Florida Lake, created from a dammed marsh and augmented by the groundwater from the mines, is a popular picnic and recreational destination. On its shores is a memorial that commemorates the discovery of gold. The sculptures are the work of Dale Lace. The mine shafts of the Struben brothers’ Confidence Reef can be seen in Kloofendal Nature Reserve. Their five-stamp battery was the first to be used on the Witwatersrand. Kloofendal was established to preserve the indigenous flora and fauna. It incorporates several walking trails and a stone amphitheatre.
The old jail in the Florida suburb of Roodepoort is the only survivor of the government buildings that were in use prior to the South African War. The Roodepoort Museum was built around a collection of antiques presented to the municipality by the West Rand Cultural History Society in 1963. Exhibits include a mid-18thcentury pioneer farmhouse, historical photographs on West Rand gold history, and Art Nouveau and Art Deco objects, among them an early radio and gramophone.