Kempton Park – Multi-racial Suburbs

Located alongside Gauteng’s O.R. Tambo Airport and midway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, the city of Kempton Park is divided into seventeen residential and industrial suburbs and incorporates the Kelvin Power Station, a coal power plant providing a substantial percentage of Johannesburg’s electricity requirements.

Kempton Park was established in 1903 on a portion of a farm, named Zuurfontein, belonging to Karl Wolff. He named the new settlement Kempten after the town in Bavaria where he was born. The name was later changed to Kempton Park. Wolff played a significant role in the establishment of the dynamite factory at Modderfontein in Edenvale which supplied the burgeoning gold mining industry with explosives.

The multi-racial suburbs in Kempton Park vary quite substantially in their character, with typically square, tin-roofed older houses being nearer the city center and more modern housing in outlying suburbs, as well as small holdings on the outskirts of the city. One of Gauteng’s largest black townships, Tembisa, borders on Kempton Park. The Kempton Park World Trade Center has served as a venue for many prominent meetings including the 1993 multi-party negotiations to end the country’s apartheid system, resulting in the country’s first truly democratic elections in 1994 and the subsequent appointment of Nelson Mandela as the President of South Africa.

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