Johannesburg Cemeteries

August 24, 2015

Every city has cemeteries to bury their dead. But cemeteries have their set of laws and pressures like, for instance, the Johannesburg cemeteries.

The disposal of the dead is shrouded in customs, traditions and legislation. Existing Johannesburg cemeteries and others become problematic when they fall into disuse. Maybe they are no longer cared for or lie in the path of progression and city improvements.

Certainly, open spaces are not as available as they used to be, and planning a new cemetery has many problems as to its placement. Therefore the ongoing question is whether the city has sufficient burial space for its residents? Way back in 2009, the Johannesburg City Parks reported that 27 of the 35 Johannesburg cemeteries were full.

Johannesburg cemeteries Heritage Sites contain Graves of colourful characters

Johannesburg cemeteries

So there are new Johannesburg cemeteries now to cater for this massive problem. Newer cemeteries are the Waterval Cemetery in Midrand and the Olifantsvlei Farm Cemetery which help with alleviating the problem.

And there are a few cemeteries in Johannesburg which are important heritage sites. These include the Brixton, Braamfontein and West Park Cemeteries. Braamfontein Cemetery even has a walking tour to inform and entertain people on some of the colourful characters buried at this cemetery.

Unique Features of Johannesburg Cemeteries

When it comes to Johannesburg cemeteries, Johannesburg City Parks is responsible for the management and upkeep of the city’s 35 cemeteries in the greater Johannesburg area. Some Johannesburg cemeteries have special gardens of remembrance, heroes acres, war and military graves as well as other memorials.

Westpark Cemetery

This Johannesburg cemetery is the resting place of some well-known citizens. The cemetery opened way back in 1942. In this cemetery, there are areas for servicemen who have died in the line of duty. In addition, it has war graves of more than 600 people who played a part in World War II.

There is a Military Plot which contains the Johannesburg Cremation Memorial to 69 Commonwealth service personnel. A walk through the site will reveal many very decorative gravestones and mausoleums. Also, well-known people such as Top Billing’s Simba Mhere and Herman Charles Bosman lie at Johannesburg cemetery.

Avalon Cemetery, Chiawelo, Soweto

There are many well-known South African struggle-heroes buried in the Avalon Cemetery. Some of those buried in Avalon are Hector Pieterson, Joe Slovo, Lilian Ngoyi and Helen Joseph. Importantly, the cemetery is large, spanning 172 hectares and accommodating some 300 000 people. To the north, near the train station, lies the Mendi Memorial.

Panorama Cemetery, Roodepoort

This cemetery now falls under Westpark and is in Panorama agricultural holdings. And it is a cemetery which still has quite a bit of space in it. And they will still dig the grave and cover it after burial. This cemetery has a maintenance programme, where it is cleaned up every month.

Diepsloot Cemetery, Diepsloot

This is a fairly new eco-cemetery, constructed in 2007. It is a landscaped cemetery with a design based on the world heritage site, the Cradle of Humankind. There are beds of indigenous flowers, ponds and natural rock outcrops, providing the cemetery with a park-like feeling.

Brixton Cemetery, Brixton

The cemetery has a war memorial to remember those who have died defending the country. A Heroes Acre is also found at Avalon Cemetery. The Braamfontein Cemetery also accommodates the memorial of Enoch Mankayi Sontonga, composer of South Africa’s national anthem Nkosi Sikeleli. Certainly, Johannesburg cemeteries have got an illustrious history.

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All info was correct at time of publishing