I visited this forgotten memorial in Brakpan in 2007 and by then it had been relegated to the veldt and no maintenance had taken place there for years.
Commemorating what is known as the “Brakpan Mine Incident” during the Rand Revolt of 1922; It seems as if the ideal was to have a place of reflection, with benches around the sides and an unused stamp mill to provide relevance. The stamp mill was gone, the fence was falling down and the road was just litter strewn track. Sadly the overall state of the memorial is as such that soon it will be just another abandoned structure which has no indication of its history. (May 2022: it appears that the plaque at the base of the memorial has either been stolen or removed into safekeeping)
I am not sure whether there are actual graves underneath the eight slabs, if there are then technically this is a cemetery. The slabs commemorate the following men associated with this incident.
- Lieut Vincent Frederic. Brodigan (Mine manager, Brakpan Mines. GSW of skull. 10/03/1922)
- Special Const. Stephanus Jansen Combrink (Underground gold miner, GSW of skull 10/03/1922)
- Special Const. Thomas Hendrik Jordaan (JH on memorial) (Farmer, GSW of skull 10/12/1922)
- Special Const. Smit Frans Hendrik (Diamond digger, perforating wound of left side of heart, 10/03/1922)
- Martin, Herbert (Acting shift boss, “killed by revolutionary forces” 10/03/1922)
- Phillips. Lewis (Shaft Clerk. GSW abdomen and back 10/03/1922)
- Momsen, Adrian B (Andrew Bernardus?) (Shift boss, fractured skull, 10/03/1922)
- Lowden George Webster (Surveyor in gold mine GSW of skull, 10/03/1922)
H. Martin. (Mine Official), L Phillips. (Mine Official)
A.B. Momsen, (Mine Official), G.W. Lowden. (Mine Official)
S.J. Combrink (Special Constable), F.H. Smit (Special Constable)
J.H. Jordaan (Special Constable), V.F. Brodigan (Special Constable)
The memorial may be found at 26° 13.059’S, 28° 21.300’E. Be wary though, this area is full of abandoned buildings and safety may be an issue. These images were taken in 2007.
It appears as if a proposal was put forward for the restoration of the monument and the creation of what was tentatively called “Brakpan Memorial Park” or “Royal Oak Memorial Park”, and an Archaeological Impact Assessment, as well as an Environmental Management Plan, were available to read on the SAHRA website but these have since been removed. Both were dated 2014, and the archaeological assessment made mention of a further cemetery located “in the northern section of the study area on the boundary of the golf course” (Google Earth co-ordinates: S26 13 01.1 E28 20 55.5). Mention was also made of the looting, illegal dumping and squatting in the area. The proposed park would incorporate the remains of the Rand Revolt monument as well as the cemetery. A quick look at the Google Earth satellite view revealed that nothing had been done by late 2015, and it is unlikely that anything will be done (no change in 2019 GE view). The fact is that the area is dangerous, well away from the beaten track and the ruins are occupied by illegal squatters. The report does not mention whether the slabs at the derelict memorial cover graves or not. Given how neglected the former war memorial was I will only believe that something is done when it actually happens. Special thanks to Diederik Cloete for the information and links.
DRW © 2007 – 2022. Tagged 19/1/2007. Edited and images replaced 14/02/2012. Moved to blog 08/02/2014, Updated 29/12/2016, moved to Musings 02/01/2021. There is a page and post version of this particular memorial.