(work in progress)
I drive through Klerksdorp on the N12 regularly on business, and in recent months, I've been encouraged by the effort that has gone into beautifying this previously unlovely stretch of road. And although there are those who would claim that Kdorp is not constrained by any lack of opportunity for improvement on this count, I can only comment that every little helps. It's like Rudy Guiliani's 'broken window' initiative in New York, where focusing on the little things can help to catalyse much greater change, and anything that helps to foster local people's sense of pride in their own surroundings can only be good.
That's the good stuff. But I sense an uneasy pattern emerging in Klerksdorp's apparent enthusiasm for strange metal figures of dancing miners!
I must confess that I was gobsmacked to find this statue outside the Klerksdorp municipality - I think it's gorgeous (if somewhat fanciful in its composition), but it's simply not what you expect to stumble across in the conservative platteland!
Mining and agriculture are uncomfortable bedfellows at the best of times, and the sight of these two performing an unlikely 'pas de deux' is most amusing. In case the imagery is not apparent, agriculture is of course the female figure (no doubt invoking imagery of fertility and fruitfulness despite her slender proportions) whilst mining is depicted as a distressingly fey male figure. I somewhat doubt whether many of my mining colleagues would relate to the poncy, hammer-wielding Mr Mining with his woosey helmet leaping gaily into the air!
To my immense regret, my Internet-based research has drawn a complete blank and I have managed to find out absolutely nothing about this statue: hopefully on my return to Klerkdorp, I will be able to do a little more research.
I have long been intrigued by the unusual architecture of the Klerksdorp (now city of Matlosana) municipal building. The tower rises above the rest of the concrete monstrosities of the CBD and is visible from the N12 highway. It has always seemed out of place - more the sort of thing you'd expect to find in a red brick Hanseatic city than in a South African platteland town.
Despite my best efforts, I have managed to find out absolutely nothing about this intriguing building. It's not as though Klerksdorp is overrun by attractive historical buildings, and I think it's rather a shame that it doesn't crack a mention on any of the Klerksdorp websites (see the link below for the best of these).
Barend & Magrita Prinslo, Klerksdorp, North-West South Africa, 2572, South Africa
Good for: Business
(work in progress)
As you drive into Klerksdorp on the N12 from the northern (Johannesburg) side, you'll see the Goudkoppie cultural village on your left hand side.
If you're coming from Jo'burg, this might seem a logical place to stop off to stretch your legs and grab some refreshment whilst indulging in a little undemanding touristic activity. However, when I tried exactly this myself, I discovered that admission is only by prior arrangement with the Klerksdorp Museum (and, I suspect, as part of an organised tour).
As it happens, I did persuade the security guards to let me look around what is a small but perfectly pleasant exhibit. Built on the site of an old blockhouse (a small scale fortification) from the Boer War - presumably to take advantage of its elevated position - it now incorporates several traditional huts.