The Jeppestown Oval Memorial, Jeppestown, Johannesburg

This is one memorial that nearly slipped through the cracks. I found out about it when I saw a picture in a book about postcards featuring early Johannesburg. I did not really expect it to even exist anymore, but further investigation proved that it was still where it had been erected. (Google Earth co-ordinates 26° 12.294’S, 28° 4.087’E ). Contrary to my expectations, it is not a war memorial, but a memorial to Julius Gottlieb Ernst Christian Jeppe, Transvaal and Johannesburg pioneer. He is known for building the first brick house in Johannesburg in 1886, and was also the manager of Jeppe’s Township. The memorial, erected in 1892,  is located on the north side of the Jeppe Oval, off Mordaunt Street, is one of the oldest structures to have survived from Johannesburg’s formative early periods. The pedestal is inscribed:

In Memory
Julius GEC Jeppe
The founder of Jeppestown

Lives of all good men remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints in the sands of time.

Footprints that perhaps another
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main;
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Members of the Jeppe Family are buried in Braamfontein Cemetery, and their name and legacy lives on in the suburb close to the Oval, and in Jeppe High School for Boys in Kensington, where the gates of their former home still exist.

© DRW 2009-2018. Created 06 November 2011

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