It is believed that the Iron Age people who moved into a Stone Age southern Transvaal expanded peacefully across the near empty grasslands. There stable existence led to an expansion in the population. It is estimated that before 1822, the indigenous population of the former southern Transvaal numbered some 150 000, many of whom lived in large settlements of up to 7 000 people. 5
However, the ravages of the Mfecane lead to the break-up of these settlements and saw many people flee the area as Shaka’s former ally, Mzilikazi and his followers, fled present day KwaZulu Natal to the south-eastern Transvaal. A dispute over missing cattle with Shaka led to Mzilikazi fleeing north. The political weakness of the local Iron Age communities meant that they were unable to withstand the invading force and either fled the area or succumbed to Mzilikazi’s rule.
The invasion of the area by land-hungry Dutch farmers in 1836 also forced indigenous groups to flee the Witwatersrand until the imposition of the hut tax and the lure of gold bought many people back to Johannesburg.
HISTORY OF CRAIGHALL:
The first white settlers in the area that now constitutes Randburg were Boers who come to the area as a result of the Great Trek. J.L. Pretorius was the original owner of a farm called Driefontein, which extended from present day Bryanston to present day B r a a m f o n t e i n . I n 1 8 8 6 , w h e n P r e t o r i u s d i e d , t h e f a r m w a s s u b d i v i d e d a m o n g s t h i s n i n e sons, a lot of whom sold their farms to outsiders. 6
One of the farms was called Boskop and was owned by J. Labuschagne in 1860. An area of Boskop was demarcated and named Klipfontein, No. 479 district of Pretoria on 6 June 1865. The farm was then transferred to the district of Johannesburg [either in 1906 or 1908] and registered as Klipfontein No. 4. 7
Johannesburg was established in 1886 and soon after that William Gray Rattray purchased a section of Klipfontein in 1891. He named his portion Craighall after his birthplace in Scotland.8 The portion must have been large because it9apparently consisted of what is now known as Craighall, Craighall Park and Blairgowrie.
Residents have referred to the existence of a blockhouse on the ridge where the road reserve is located. Attempts to find records to verify this proved unsuccessful. The Royal Engineers Museum in the United Kingdom was contacted in the hope that the Museum would hold records concerning the location of blockhouses in Johannesburg. The regiment was responsible for building and locating the blockhouses in South Africa.
5 6 7 8 9
www.sahistory.org.za/pages/town&c/villages/gauteng/johannesburg, p 1 www.icon.co.za/~antondekker/html/body_randburg.html, p 1 National Archives Depot, source CDB, vol. 2429, reference 4/2/2/290 www.icon.co.za/~antondekker/, p 1 www.craighall.gp.school.za/craighallhistory.htm, p 2