Vanwyksrust Fort & Goal destroyed

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The entrance to Vanwyksrust Fort and prison, decorated with the coat of arms of the old Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek and intact until fairly recently is no more. Vandals or time have reduced it to a pile of rubble.
The stone and mud-brick fort was built on the southern bank of the Klipspruit, just south of Johannesburg. Built in 1899 to guard the city`s southern approach – and house some local outlaws at ZAR President Paul Kruger`s expense. As such it was a contemporary of the Old Fort in Braamfontein, now home to the Constitutional Court. 
The ruin is now next to the Golden Highway at its intersection with the R554 (that runs between Lenasia and Eikenhof.
Whatever the history of the fort, its loss to future generations is to be regretted. As it was, it played little part in the Boer War (1899-1902), although it was a geographic feature on the battlefield during the “Battle of Johannesburg” in the Kliprivier valley on May 28-29, 1900.
The essentials of the battle was the British, under Field Marshal Frederick Roberts, advancing up from Vereeniging and then taking the city from both east and west by using two, wide pincers: one to the east, up the Natalspruit to Dunswart railway junction (now in Boksburg) and the other via Doornkop (now along Adcock Road just south of the Leratong Hospital in Krugersdorp).
The British left wing, under John French and Ian Hamilton (both to make further marks during World War One) came down the Gatsrand parallel to what is now the Golden Highway (and past what is now Zakariyya Park) towards the fort.
In its vicinity they came under fire from various Boer artillery and infantry positions along the Klipriviersberg to the north of the valley (now part of the suburbs of Soweto, Eldorado Park and Naturena).
Hamilton`s force, with newspaper reporter Winston Spencer Churchill in tow, cut across what is now Lenasia, following the southern bank of the Klip, moving gradually northwards to Doornkop, “the Doornkop, the actual kopje, beside the farmhouse, where (Dr Leander Starr) Jameson had raised the white flag, five years before.”[1]
French, in the meantime cut across to the old pump house at Zuurbekom, now wedged between Protea Glen and Lenasia where the R558 crosses the N12 highway, moving north via Zuurbult to Vlakfontein, outflanking the battle and Boers just to the south…[2]
Vlakfontein farm today hosts Slovoville, Tshepisong and the Leratong hospital.              
Much of the battlefield archaeology has been destroyed by the urban sprawl. Now, it appears another chunk is gone, forever.                          


[1] Thomas Pakenham, The Boer War, Jonathan Ball Publishers, 1979
[2] Pakenham provides a good description of Hamilton`s battle, while the SA National Museum of Military History in Johannesburg has an excellent map of all the dispositions in the Doornkop file kept in its magnificent library.