Benoni – Tree-lined Streets with a strong Suburban Character
While owing its establishment and subsequent growth to the gold mining industry, the lovely town of Benoni with its tree-lined streets and wide open parks has a strong suburban character which makes it a much-sought after place to live. With easy access to world-class shopping malls and located about ten minutes away from Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport, Benoni’s multi-ethnic, multi-racial and multi-cultural suburbs show that this Gauteng town has moved ahead with the times.
In 1881, while auditing the area, the surveyor-general at the time named a piece of state property Benoni after the Hebrew name meaning ‘son of my sorrow’, given by Rachel to her son Benjamin as recorded in the Bible book of Genesis. Soon thereafter gold was discovered and the area rapidly developed into a bustling gold mining town, being declared the township of Benoni in 1906. Under the direction of the chairman of the mining company, George Farrar, thousands of trees were planted in the area and a river was diverted into a series of dams which were stocked with fish, all of which has created a number of popular water-sport and recreation areas in Benoni that attract visitors from surrounding towns. There are around thirty parks scattered throughout Benoni, including the popular Bunny Park in Rynfield and the Korsman Bird Sanctuary, and with many smallholdings on the outskirts of the town, Benoni is known for its strong horse-riding community.
Benoni is the birthplace of a number of internationally recognized personalities, including award-winning actress Charlize Theron, award-winning swimmer Charlene Wittstock, boxing champion Brian Mitchell, current France international rugby union player Brian Liebenberg and former African National Congress President Oliver Reginald Tambo, after whom Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport is named.