Kempton Park, Gauteng

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Kempton Park
The Central Business District of Kempton Park
The Central Business District of Kempton Park
Kempton Park is located in South Africa
Kempton Park
Kempton Park
 Kempton Park shown within South Africa
Coordinates: 26°6′S 28°14′E / 26.100°S 28.233°E / -26.100; 28.233Coordinates: 26°6′S 28°14′E / 26.100°S 28.233°E / -26.100; 28.233
Country South Africa
Province Gauteng
Municipality Ekurhuleni
Established 1903
 • Total 149.05 km2 (57.55 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 171,575
 • Density 1,200/km2 (3,000/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African 46.6%
 • Coloured 2.3%
 • Indian/Asian 3.3%
 • White 46.9%
 • Other 0.9%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • Afrikaans 35.0%
 • English 26.2%
 • Zulu 8.6%
 • Northern Sotho 7.8%
 • Other 22.4%
Postal code (street) 1619
PO box 1620
Area code 010

Kempton Park is a city on the East Rand in the Gauteng province, South Africa. Formerly an independent municipality in the Transvaal, Kempton Park no longer has its own municipal government, and has been part of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality since 2000. Kempton Park is located north-east of Johannesburg, South Africa's largest city, and south of Pretoria, the administrative capital. It is situated next to Tembisa, one of the largest townships in South Africa. The name of the city is sometimes written as "Kemptonpark" in Afrikaans.

It was established in 1903 when Karl Wolff sub-divided a portion of his Zuurfontein farm into residential stands and named the new town Kempten after the German town in Bavaria of his birth. The name was anglicised into Kempton Park.[2]

OR Tambo International Airport (Africa's busiest airport) is located in Kempton Park.[3] In 1952 the airport, then known as Jan Smuts International Airport,[4][5] was built on land next to the community, and opened in 1953.[4] The airport's name was changed to Johannesburg International Airport in the late 1990s and then to OR Tambo International Airport in 2006.[6][7]

The city has six major high schools (secondary schools): Jeugland Hoërskool,[8] Kempton Hoër (Kempton High),[9] Rhodesfield High School,[10] Birchleigh Hoër,[11] Norkem Park High[12] and Sir Pierre van Ryneveld.[13]

The Kempton Park Golf Course, first designed in 1965, in Spartan is known as the club where Ernie Els learnt how to play golf.


Kempton Park was declared a City in 1992 and has the following suburbs:

Spartan is a large industrial zone which holds many chemical manufacturing and other industrial sites.

Kempton Park also has a large coal power plant named Kelvin power station.


Carl Friedrich Wolff was born on Christmas Eve 1851 in Kempten, the capital of the Austro-Bavarian district Allgäu in South Germany. After school and an early training in the iron and steel industry, he moved to London and in 1873, embarked on a financial career. In 1875 his company, Adolph Mosenthal & Co. transferred him to South Africa where he took command of the accounting division in the Port Elizabeth branch. In 1880 he was transferred to Bloemfontein where he married Maria Fichardt, granddaughter of Carl Wuras, a noted missionary.

In 1888, Wolff was transferred to Pretoria to establish a branch office. He became a leading figure among the German community and was elected as chairman of the local German Club. From Pretoria he moved to Johannesburg to open another branch office and became a founder member and the first chairman of the German Club in the city.

Because of his German origin, Carl Friedrich Wolff was a natural choice as a go-between for the Z.A.R. in their transactions with the Nobel Trust, who were building the dynamite factory. The Nobel company had established the Zuid-Afrikaansche Fabrieken voor Ontplofbare Stoffen and had appointed Wolff as local director in South Africa (although he apparently retained his connections with his English employers).

The Nobel Trust exercised complete financial control over the dynamite factory and Wolff's major role appears to have been as negotiator with the Z.A.R. government and local landowners. During the establishment of the dynamite factory and the delicate negotiations which evolved as a result of the private rail link from the factory to Zuurfontein, Wolff played a prominent part.

The Rhodesfield suburb of Kempton Park

The exciting events taking place at this time can well be imagined. Gold fever had gripped the Witwatersrand and the dynamite factory was a vital industrial necessity. Land speculation was rife, community development was beginning to take shape and Carl Wolff, at the peak of his career, was right in the heart of the drama.

Establishing the rail link was of prime importance and successful negotiation with the owners of the farm Zuurfontein, the Buitendags, was crucial. The Buitendags' great complaint was that the existing railway line already divided their property and some 113 morgen on the east side of the farm was completely cut off from the main property. The new railroad to the dynamite factory would further divide their property and disrupt their farming operations.

Tembisa is a large township situated to the north of Kempton Park on the East Rand, Gauteng, South Africa. It was established in 1957 when Africans were resettled from Alexandra and other areas in Edenvale, Kempton Park, Midrand and Germiston.

Storming of the Kempton Park World Trade Centre[edit]

The storming of Kempton Park World Trade Centre took place on 25 June 1993 when approximately three thousand members of the Afrikaner Volksfront (AVF), Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) and other paramilitary right-wing Afrikaner groups stormed the World Trade Centre in Kempton Park, Johannesburg. At the time of the attack the World Trade Centre was the venue for multi-party CODESA negotiations to end the apartheid system through the country's first multi-racial elections. These negotiations were strongly opposed by right-wing white groups in South Africa. The invasion came after other clashes between police and right-wingers, such as the Battle of Ventersdorp, and much belligerent rhetoric from right-wing leaders such as Eugène Terre'Blanche of the AWB.


In the census of 2001, the population of Kempton Park consisted of 117,271 people living in 39,119 households.[14] 71% of the people described themselves as "White", 26% as "Black African" and 2% as "Coloured". 47% spoke Afrikaans as their first language and 28% spoke English. The 2001 census therefore shows that Kempton Park is, in fact the most white city (in terms of percentage) in the whole East Rand.


Airways Park, the head office of South African Airways

The international airport plays a dominant role in the local economy. Several airline and other aviation related companies are headquartered in Kempton Park.

The Emperor's Palace Casino is also located in Kempton Park.

South African Airways, the flag carrier of South Africa, and subsidiary South African Express Airways have their head offices in Kempton Park.[3][15][16] Airlink, a regional South African airline, has its headquarters on the grounds of OR Tambo Airport.[3][17] Mango, a low cost airline, is headquartered on the grounds of OR Tambo.[18] The headquarters of Comair and are at an intersection within Ekurhuleni in close proximity to OR Tambo.[19][20] Federal Air also has its headquarters on the OR Tambo grounds.[21] 1Time has its head office in the Isando Industrial Park.[22] Safair's head office is in Kempton Park.[23]


  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Kempton Park". Census 2011. 
  2. ^ Raper, R.E. Dictionary of Southern African Place Names. HSRC. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c "Background." Ekurhuleni. 3 (3/8). Retrieved on 30 September 2009.
  4. ^ a b Bulpin, T.V. (1980). Mayhew, Vic; Duncan, Tony; Handler, Rosemund, eds. Illustrated Guide to Southern Africa (2 ed.). Reader's Digest. p. 198, col. 1. ISBN 0-620-04650-3. 
  5. ^ "To South Africa In 2½ Days". The Age. 5 September 1952. p. 2, col. 2. 
  6. ^ "Plan to rename Johannesburg airport stirs colonialism row". 9 October 2003. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  7. ^ "Johannesburg International to be renamed OR Tambo". 31 August 2006. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  8. ^ "Hoërskool Jeugland". City of Ekurhuleni. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  9. ^ "Hoërskool Kempton Park". City of Ekurhuleni. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  10. ^ "Rhodesfield Technical High School". City of Ekurhuleni. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  11. ^ "Hoërskool Birchleigh". City of Ekurhuleni. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  12. ^ "Norkem Park High School". City of Ekurhuleni. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  13. ^ "Sir Pierre Van Ryneveld High School". City of Ekurhuleni. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  14. ^ "Main Place 'Kempton Park'". Census 2001. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  15. ^ "Legal Information - (EU)." South African Airways. Retrieved on 24 June 2009.
  16. ^ "Contact Us." South African Express. Retrieved on 30 September 2009.
  17. ^ "Download a map to Airlink's Head Office." Airlink. Retrieved on 30 September 2009.
  18. ^ "Contact Us." Mango. Retrieved on 30 September 2009.
  19. ^ "Contact Us." Comair. Retrieved on 30 September 2009.
  20. ^ "Contact Us." Retrieved on 30 September 2009.
  21. ^ "Contact details." Federal Air. Retrieved on 30 September 2009.
  22. ^ "Contact Us." 1Time. Retrieved on 28 October 2009.
  23. ^ "Contact." Safair. Retrieved on 1 March 2010.

External links[edit]