The first Gold Rush in Johannesburg, known as the Witwatersrand Gold Rush, took place in 1886. Indeed, gold is the magic that pumped through the earth’s veins giving life to Johannesburg on land that was otherwise not suitable to attract and sustain a large human population.
Primarily, Johannesburg is an unsuitable place for a city, because there is no natural water source to support the consumption needs of a vast landlocked city. There is a joke that the only reef to be found anywhere near Johannesburg is the Witwatersrand Gold Reef.
Johannesburg sprang up virtually overnight when the first gold rush started after the discovery of gold in 1886 and is known as the City of Gold or eGoli (the Sotho name for Johannesburg). It now looks like we could see a second gold rush 130 years later….
On Easter Sunday we went to an Easter Egg Hunt at Birnisan Farm to the North of Johannesburg. What we actually found (or rather what Pickle found) was far, far more exciting.
Pickle has a penchant for picking up random rocks and stones and presenting them to me as diamonds. It’s very sweet and we have a vast collection gathering dust on a windowsill. As usual he insisted on carrying large stick that he’d found to help him hunt for eggs and stones (and to poke bushes in case there were any snakes – he knows I don’t like snakes).
He came home with his stick and added it to growing pile by the front door. His pockets were bulging with pebbles and treasures that he’d scavenged during the hunt (and happily also a decent haul of chocolate eggs). Of course, I was asked to assist with the very important cleaning of his ‘diamonds and other precious stones’. One of the stones was remarkably weighty and had a shiny bits, it was thus promoted to be kept in pride of place on the dining table.
That same evening we had friends over for a braai. The husband works for a mining company and for the purpose of this post shall be referred to as The Prospector. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that the moment he sat down, beer in hand, he homed straight in on the stone, like a bee to honey or a prospector to gold, his eyes gleaming like brushed bullion. It turns out that the bumpy, shiny, heavy little rock was the real deal, I know now that a stone like that with bits of gold sticking out is called a conglomerate. Pickle struck gold.
The Prospector could barely concentrate on his steak and kept disappearing to make and receive a flurry of phone calls. The short version of what’s been happening since Sunday is that a number of preliminary geological surveys have been rushed through.
Core samples are being drilled over a wide area, a wide area that had never previously been considered as a potential gold field due to the number of caves and unfavourable rock strata (please don’t ask me the technical stuff, that’s the best explanation I can communicate to you). We’ve been sitting on the news since Tuesday and it’s been so difficult to keep it under wraps. The kids have been bursting to tell everyone, everywhere and we’ve had to bribe them with chocolate and i-pod time.
It’s not yet been confirmed whether Pickle will be eligible for any kind of finders fee, but he will be permitted to keep the small gold studded lump of rock he found. What a lucky boy.
South Africa’s Gold Authority, the Rand Council will be collating its findings and producing a map outlining the new goldfield – version 1.0 should go live today. Basically, it will be all over the news by teatime if it isn’t already, but as I haven’t signed any ‘official secrets act’ type documents, I’m now allowed to share the news. I’m hoping that you heard it here first!
You will soon be able to check whether you property falls within the estimated gold field and register it to stake your claim by visiting the website, which will continue to be updated over the coming weeks. Alternatively, there may be a few small hobby plots for sale if you’re quick.
I’m not sure when the link will go live, but please use the link below to check.
No, of course the link doesn’t work, I’m yanking your golden chain. Did I catch you out? If I did, will you share this post? Happy April Fools.
As far as I’m aware there is no such place as Birnisan Farm, Bir Nisan is Turkish for 1 April. There is no second gold rush (that I’m aware of). We have plenty of rocks collected by our small adventurer, but none of value. The Rand Council doesn’t exist. Fiction, fiction, fiction. Sorry folks.
I’m not sure whether this post was as convincing (and it certainly wasn’t as eyebrow raising) as my previous April Fool, which you can read HERE.