Bakerton and Payneville.

Continuing with my efforts to capture images of the more obscure cemeteries where CWGC graves are to be found, I ventured forth to Bakerton/Payneville Cemetery outside of Springs. My original thoughts were that these were two distinctly seperate places, however, some homework revealed that actually they are a cemetery within a cemetery. Bakerton being the Hindu/Moslem cemetery, and Payneville being the African burial ground. Naturally they are miles from anywhere, but reasonably close to Brakpan to pay a return visit to Brenthurst Cemetery  and pop in at the derelict war memorial in Springs.
 
My first port of call however was at the Cosy Corner MOTH Shellhole in Brakpan to photograph the new Wall of Remembrance, that is now home to the original plaque from the mess that is the former garden of remembrance in Brakpan.
 
The MOTH Shellhole is a treasure trove of memorabilia and is well worth visiting if you have an interest in Delville Wood. A tree, grown from a seedling from a Hornbeam tree on the battlefield, grows in the grounds. Its a strange tangible link to that terrible battle.
 
 
There is a proud heritage at that Shellhole, and by the looks of it, it is a thriving one. There are two preserved tanks on their premises, and that is quite an accomplishment. 
 
 
Moving onwards to Bakerton, I had one CWGC grave to photograph,  and he was reasonably easy to find. This area of the cemetery is very well maintained and is still in use. Unfortunately I cannot say much about when it opened, but it must have been open in the early 1940’s at a minimum. The Springs area does have a number of Native Military Corps graves in it, with the beautiful Palmietkuil South War Cemetery just up the road.  
 
Payneville however was a different ball game altogether. Its not a very large space,  but it is sparsely populated with headstones, and overpopulated with weeds and grass. Mounds and holes are not easy to spot and I nearly saw the ground from close up on quite a few occasions.
 
I had 2 CWGC graves to photograph, and had a rough idea where they were, but in reality, finding them in real time was a different story. Usually the headstones are very distinctive and I found the one reasonably easily, but the second was nowhere to be seen. I had rough GPS co-ordinates of the graves and changed to pedestrian mode to try find it, but even with a GPS I struck a blank. I did a block search in the area and eventually found the stone, but it had been broken in half. It was only recently that the CWGC graves had been cleaned up, and this was a recent break. There wasn’t much to do but report the broken stone and head off to our next destination. I think that as long as I live I will never understand the logic of somebody that goes around breaking tombstones. If somebody can provide insight into this please drop me a comment.
 
 
Springs War Memorial was one of those mapbook finds. I spotted it when I was researching Palmietkuil in 2007, but couldn’t find it on the ground at the time. There was this strange derelict dome structure on an island in the town, but surely that wasn’t the memorial? 
Springs War Memorial in 2007
Springs War Memorial in 2007
My gravehunting companion assured me that WAS the memorial, or should I say, what is left of it. The dome used to cover a tripod of rifles with a helmet, inscribed on the interior walls were the “Their Name Liveth Forevermore” reminders. Upright walls lined the pathway, with name plaques of the fallen, a fountain adding its melody to the tableau. That was then. This is now.
springswm 093
 
 
The only purpose that this derelict seems to serve now is to provide a shelter for the homeless, otherwise it is just a travesty that can get consigned to the scrapheap of history. In the nearly 4 years since I had visited here originally, nothing had been improved or done to rectify the situation. And, probably in 4 years time, things will be exactly the same as now. I wonder how many residents even have an idea what this derelict structure actually was? I know one thing, no remembering of the fallen is done in Springs anymore.
 
In 2014, I was contacted by Joe Borain who informed me that they were stealing the copper off what was left of the dome.  The image below being taken in February 2014. It was also announced that the council would be “restoring” the memorial, but whether that ever happens remains to be seen. 
I did post an update to my original entry on the relevant page of allatsea
 
A last detour to photograph a Honey tank, and we were ready to head off to Brenthurst Cemetery, but that’s another story, for another day. Unfortunately, between my visit and 2016 the tank has been deteriorating and I did an update on her too.
 
  
DRW © 2011-2019. Images recreated 20/03/2016

Horizon View Cemetery

Theoretically this blogpost should be called Joliwe Township Cemetery, because that is really the area where the cemetery now is. I probably found this seemingly forgotten cemetery while looking for something in my streetfinder; it is amazing how much information there can be found if you really read one of those things. At the time I had not moved to Roodepoort yet (2008), so my first visit, by necessity was a short one, squeezed in when I was in the area. This post really combines two separate visits that I made, the first being on 17/02/2008, and the second on 26/11/2011.

There is not a lot to see, at first glimpse you would think that this is just another overgrown park that somehow slipped between the cracks of legoland housing estate developers,  but actually it is a proper constituted cemetery, complete with berms and gravestones if you know where to look.

It is not fenced and is criss crossed with paths used by locals as shortcuts. How many are aware that this is a cemetery? no idea, but it certainly does not look like one. 

Wind forward to 2011, and I revisited the cemetery to see whether I could find any graves for submission to eggsa. And this time I found something I had missed before, or possibly it had been erected between 2008 and 2011.

As mentioned previously, this cemetery used to be part of what was then known as Juliwe Township, also known as Roodepoort West. The inhabitants of the township were forcibly removed to Dobsonville in Soweto between 1955 and 1964 while the cemetery and it’s inhabitants remained behind.

The mining town of Roodepoort turned into a city and today commercial property is standing on the land where the township used to be. I have no idea how large an area the township covered, but in the newspaper articles from 2013 about land claims by the former inhabitants it seems as if it possibly encompassed the area where Westgate is now.

Sadly the cemetery has suffered from neglect, and it conveniently slipped between the cracks as  the Group Areas Act came into being, and was eventually surrounded by houses and commercial development and gradually became less recognisable as a cemetery. On my visit in 2011 the grass was much shorter and I was able to photograph 24 headstones with names on them. 

horizonview 052

I have an article about the cemetery and township, and according to that, a report from June 1959 records 2 000 adult graves in which 3 000 bodies had been interred, along with 2 635 infant graves. The cemetery was closed around about 1958. There was even talk of exhuming the bodies and reburying them in a mass grave, but fortunately that did not happen. However, the newly resettled township residents would not be able to visit the graves in Horizon View because of the Group Areas Act. 

And so the cemetery ended up more as a piece of veldt than anything else, a 6 foot wall that was supposed to be built did not happen and while there was a a partly newish concrete palisade fence around a portion of the cemetery the rest of it was only “fenced” with knee high tar poles. 

In 2013 it was announced that land claims were going to be lodged on behalf of former residents, although whether that ever happened or not I cannot say, All that is left is this plot of land with its scattered graves and the memories of those who are still alive who lived here. Sadly the remaining gravestones have been vandalised and people still use this as a shortcut or a place to play a game of soccer or walk the dogs. Most are probably oblivious to the graves underneath them, and somehow I doubt whether they actually care,

I had been fortunate that I did find the right person who had some history for me to read, and I was able to see the plaque and gain a better understanding of this space. I do expect though that in 10 years time nothing much will have changed here, and this small green space will still exist in Roodepoort, and only a plaque will advise of those who lived and are buried here. 

Do records exist? I believe they do, but how complete they are I cannot say. Given that there are berms it should theoretically be possible to trace a grave, but that is based on records existing.

I did not return there again, and probably never will, but I am glad that I was able to capture those few headstones and leave some sort of record so that tomorrow there will be something for future researchers to find, because frankly, at the moment there is very little.

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