Johannesburg – the spaces ‘in between’

The space in-between or the uitvalgrond formed old Joburg city centre

Map of Johannesburg Township 1886 (Source: Musiker, N&R. ‘A Concise Historical Dictionary of Greater Johannesburg’ Francolin, 2000: 30)

Just discovered a great website on Joburg (bit embarrassed I didn’t know of it before).    It’s  www. and it’s the website of  the Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism.   Based at Wits University, their work (as their name indicates) is academic and inter-disciplinary, focusing on critical social analysis.

I found an interesting article by Bettina Malcomess on the notion of the uitvalgrond and how it is a defining feature of Johannesburg’s  spatial, cultural, economic and political identity.   Uitvalgrond loosely translated in English means left-over or surplus ground.

While all cities have marginal and in-between spaces, what makes Johannesburg unusual is that when it was laid out in 1886, at what was to become its very centre, was a piece of uitvalgrond .  Where the 3 farms of Braamfontein, Doornfontein and Turffontein met there was a triangular piece of surplus land  (roughly between Pritchard and Bree streets today in Joburg Central).

Malcomess goes on to look at other spaces of ‘uitvalgrond’ which have defined the way Johannebsurg has developed since its founding.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

4 thoughts on “Johannesburg – the spaces ‘in between’

  1. I’m really loving the theme/design of your weblog. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems? A couple of my blog visitors have complained about my site not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox. Do you have any suggestions to help fix this problem?

  2. I am a very amateur blogger. I have had the blog set up and I just write posts. I have had problems with spacing etc. and still haven;t got really got the measure of it. I bumble along !

  3. Hey thanks for this feedback. Please use the ‘subscribe to my blog’ tab to follow for future posts. Cheers Liz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *