Cemeteries

 

Contents: By-laws | Heritage sites | Cemetries Brochure | Departed Heroes

 

crematorium

About Joburg’s brochure

Cemeteries and Crematoria brochure
The conservation, upkeep and maintenance of the City’s 35 cemeteries and three crematoria are a dedicated business at Johannesburg City Parks. Cemeteries are not only regarded as areas of remembrance to honour the deceased but also provide opportunities to create green footprints within urban belts. And to walk through the City’s cemeteries is to explore the city’s own history.

 

Read more

The history of Joburg’s cemeteries
The first cemetery in Johannesburg was laid out in 1886 on the corner of Bree and Harrison streets. Find out more about the fascinating history of Joburg’s burial sites.

Burial trends and traditions
Cemeteries should keep pace with the times: with the best theories of religion, science and economics. Read more about burial traditions and evolving trend.

 

Contact us

Cemeteries call centre: (011) 712-6602
Queries: (011) 712-6673
Email: Nooreena Hendricks on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Johannesburg carries the stories of many in its graveyards and cemeteries. There are 35 cemeteries and two crematoria under the custodianship of Johannesburg City Parks. As the city continues to develop and grow, so does the pressure on burial space and, in 2006, the City of Johannesburg set aside R20-million for the development of new cemeteries.

When the Waterval Cemetery in Midrand opened in 2006, it was the first new burial ground opened in Johannesburg for nearly a quarter of a century. In Joburg’s Region 1, the 200 hectare cemetery has space for 720 000 burials and should provide burial space for about 50 years.

A second new cemetery – Diepsloot Memorial Park – was opened in April 2007, providing much-needed space for 120 000 burials. The park embraces South Africans as people with diverse cultures and beliefs and breaks away from the Eurocentric models favoured in the past. Heritage elements, indigenous flora and the existing habitat are naturally linked to fulfil a dual purpose as a cemetery and an environmental conservation area. It received a silver award in the whole city environmental management category at the prestigious Liveable Community (LivCom) Awards , organised by the United Nations, in London in November 2007.

 

By-laws

The Cemetery and Crematoria By-laws for the City of Johannesburg covers the disposal of bodies, coffins and graves, funerals, re-opening of graves and exhumations, care of graves, memorials and inscriptions, cremations and memorial work in crematoria, indigent persons, and prohibited acts.

 

Heritage sites

To walk the cemeteries of Johannesburg is to explore the city’s own history and the following five cemeteries, which are under the control of Johannesburg City Parks, are regarded as important heritage sites.

1. Braamfontein Cemetery
Within Braamfontein Cemetery, which is on the corner of Graaff and Smit streets, stands the dynamite explosion monument, the granite memorial dating from 1896. It was erected in memory of 71 white and coloured persons who died in an explosion at Braamfontein station on 19 February 1896. The cemetery also houses the memorial of Enoch Mankayi Sontonga, the composer of South Africa’s national anthem, Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, who died in 1905 when he was 32. Valliammai and Nagappen, early martyrs of Mahatma Gandhi’s passive resistance movement, are also buried here.

2. Brixton Cemetery
The historically significant Brixton Cemetery, in Crouse Street and Brixton Drive, was laid out in 1912. A war monument near the main entrance commemorates South Africans who died in the First World War. Along main drive, there is a second First World War monument in memory of the South African Scottish regiment.

3. Westpark Cemetery
The graves of some of South Africa’s most famous sons and daughters can be found at Westpark Cemetery, located along Beyers Naude Drive in Montgomery Park:

  • Alfred Nzo, the former ANC struggle veteran and democratic South Africa’s first minister of foreign affairs.
  • Joe Modise, an ANC veteran and the former commander of Umkhonto we Sizwe. He was the first minister of defence in post-apartheid South Africa.
  • Nkosi Johnson, a young boy who featured prominently in the campaign against HIV/AIDS.


4. Newclare Cemetery

The Newclare Cemetery houses Walter Sisulu Memorial Park, developed in memory of the great former veteran leader of the African National Congress, and a mentor of former president Nelson Mandela.

5. Avalon Cemetery
Avalon Cemetery is the final resting place of many prominent persons and heroes of the liberation struggle, including Joe Slovo, Helen Joseph, the ANC’s Lilian Ngoyi, and Zephania Mothopeng, the fiery leader of the Pan African Congress. The graves of Tsietsi Mashinini, one of the heroes of the 1976 uprisings, and Hector Pieterson, the first victim of the 1976 uprising, are to be found at Avalon. A memorial to the victims of the 1976 uprisings has been erected here. The Mendi Memorial, built in memory of the soldiers who died with the sinking of the ship Mendi in February 1917, can also be found in Avalon.

Our National Departed Heroes

Click to enlarge imageIn honour of the men and women who stood up against the systematic exploitation of indigenous people of South Africa. Despite being systematically oppressed and exploited, our heroes and heroines rose up and defined themselves as extraordinary scholars, gentlemen and ladies, writers, teachers, leaders and farmers.

Our heroes and heroines observed and experienced the struggles of our people and organisations that fought for the disadvantaged and through their efforts introduced several projects and initiatives to empower the oppressed. Such efforts included the opening of several missionary schools to ensure education and cultural exchange programmes were rolled out, starting as far back as the 1900's. Not afraid to confront the unjust laws of the apartheid era, our heroes and heroines paved the way for a better future for all, one of inclusion and equality, respect and democracy.

Profiles