The problem with photographing war graves is that you can never really say that you have photographed them all. There are just so many, and new information tends to upset the applecart and send you off to the place where you were a few weeks previously. This was the case with Edenvale New Cemetery
. Two more graves needed photographing and it had to be done. I lined up 3 other visits for this trip: Edenvale Mopedi Road
, Primrose Cemetery
, and Alberton Florentia
Edenvale Cemetery is one of those places where the people are always helpful and the maintenance is always good. I enjoy going there, but access to the cemetery is always difficult because of the one way streets and the blocked off roads. I finished there reasonably quickly and headed off to Mopedi Road Cemetery which is near Sebenza.
Edenvale New Cemetery
Mopedi Road Cemetery is one of the many neglected African Cemeteries that are dotted around Gauteng. It is not a large space, and there are roughly 50 headstones visible and numerous mounds with the remains of ornamentation. But I cannot even begin to think how many graves there are, or how far back they go.
The grass had been cut not too long ago but I was surprised to find a lot of very swampy ground in it. I took my pics and then headed on my way. pausing at the abandoned Rietfontein Commando Office/headquarters. The building has been trashed and is now occupied by homeless men and their belongings. I don’t understand the reasoning behind simply moving out of a building and leaving it to rot like this.
Next on my list was Primrose Cemetery in Germiston. I had been here before to photograph the ABW plot, but didn’t really take too many pics of it, my intention was to photograph the Rand Revolt graves
, and anything else would be a bonus. I also wanted to take a look at some of the statues that I had seen there before, and try grab some of them. Alas though, Barbara Road was standing due to roadworks and trucks so I ended up making a long detour to get to my destination.
Anglo Boer War Plot
The one nice thing about this cemetery is that it is well maintained and the older parts of it were really looking beautiful. But there has been a lot of vandalism of the statues, which is really a pity because Primrose has some beautiful artwork in it. It also has a lot of beautiful natural artwork in the form of what I call “tortured trees”. I have no idea how they get like this, but they are really breathtaking.
There are five Rand Revolt casualties buried in the cemetery that we know about, but there is no real way of knowing how many others are buried here that we do not know about. I spent a lot of time at the cemetery exploring its graves and statues, and it is definitely on my list of favourite places. The nice thing about Primrose is that the staff are very helpful and it is a pleasure dealing with them.
Last on my list was Alberton Florentia. I had been here in January 2008 to photograph the CWGC graves. This time around I was after five Border War graves that we did not have photographs of. However, getting onto the highway was impossible because as per usual the section between Giloolys Interchange past Van Buuren was standing still. I had to then do a detour to avoid getting onto the highway and ended up going through Malvern and then getting on at Cleveland. It fascinates me how they are incapable of ever sorting out this abomination of a highway.
Unfortunately the person manning the office at Florentia was of the officious nature and he used every excuse he could think of not to help me, which meant I would have to try find the graves the hard way. Fortunately it is not a huge cemetery, but the sun was a killer and walking the rows was exhausting. I did not find two of the graves on my list, but found two others that were listed as burial place unknown.
I will probably have to go back to this unattractive cemetery, but this time I will go to the area I did not walk yesterday. For some reason this cemetery lacks character, and the unhelpful staff just leave me angry. On at least 3 occasions this place has featured in the local newspapers for being badly maintained and overgrown. I should remind them about it next time I see them. Its all fine and well sprouting by-laws when you are not abiding by them yourself.
That concluded my mission. I had not found everything I was after, but did fill in two gaps in our list, that alone makes it worthwhile. Finding just one undocumented grave always makes it worthwhile, and this time around I had found two!
DRW © 2012-2021. Images and links recreated 23/02/2016, links recreated 04/03/2018