On 16 February 1896, a freight train with eight trucks of dynamite - 2300 cases of 60lb each, or about 60 tonnes - was put in a siding at Braamfontein railway station. The dynamite was destined for nearby mines, but the mine's stores of dynamite were already full so the train was left in the siding - for days, in very hot weather - until there was somewhere to store the dynamite.
On the afternoon of 19 February, after labourers had started to unload the train, a shunter came to move it to another part of the siding; but after the impact of the shunter, the dynamite exploded. The explosion left a crater 60 metres long, 50 metres wide and 8 metres deep. The explosion was heard up to 200 kilometres away.
Accounts vary, but it is thought that over 70 people were killed, and more than 200 were injured.
The Braamfontein ceremony has a [memorial; it says that 75 "whites and coloured" were killed.
In 2012, artist Eduardo Cachuco created "Explosion, 1896", a complex artwork based on the explosion which was shown at the "looking glass" exhibition.
- "A Nauseous Pit of Death – the Braamfontein Dynamite Explosion". Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- "Dynamite explosion in Braamfontein".
- "Dynamite explosion". City of Johannesburg. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- "The Dynamite Explosion Memorial in Braamfontein Cemetery". Retrieved 12 February 2013.