Randburg: a bustling residential, retail and transport node

Randburg has evolved over the years into an attractive suburb; home to some 300 000 residentsRandburg has evolved over the years into an attractive suburb; home to some 300 000 residents

The Johannesburg Development Agency is planning to rejuvenate the Randburg CBD to make the most of the area's transport facilities, and make it a suburb of choice for business and residents.

The Randburg CBD will be undergoing drastic changes over the next few yearsThe Randburg CBD will be undergoing drastic changes over the next few yearsRandburg has evolved over the years into an attractive suburb; home to some 300 000 residents of all races, it features mixed-development spaces that cater to everyone's educational, healthcare, work and recreational needs.

As a Transit Oriented Development hub, it is accessible to all forms of public transport, including Gautrain via the Gautrain feeder buses to the Rosebank station, a future Rea Vaya hub and extensive taxi industry. The Randburg CBD will be undergoing drastic changes over the next few years as it continues to function as a mid-level retail and office node, with a major residential housing component to support these functions.

The history of Randburg

In the Joburg Book, edited by Nechama Brodie, "The areas known today as Sandton and Randburg were settled by white farmers as early as the 1850s; the farms of Witkoppen, Rietfontein, Zandfontein and Cyferfontein were gradually subdivided, and later developed into the suburbs of Sandton. To the west, the farms of Klipfontein, Olievenhoutspoort, Boskop and the western portion of Driefontein became the town of Randburg."

After the South African War (Anglo-Boer War), property values in Johannesburg increased, giving rise to several new suburbs in the northern areas. The Joburg Book explains: "In what would later become Randburg, a portion of Driefontein was renamed Bordeaux by owner Charles Rocher, after the French city from which his family had originated. The north-west suburbs – today Randburg – developed as predominantly Afrikaans areas, while those in what would become Sandton were mostly English."

Randburg in the 20th century

By 1957, Randburg had become a municipality consisting of larger areas such as Blairgowrie, Bordeaux, Ferndale, Darrenwood, Robin Hills, Robindale, Cresta, Aldara Park, Windsor East, Windsor West, Fairlands, Kensington "B", Olivedale, Jukskei Park, Northriding, Northwold, Randpark Ridge, Boskruin, Bromhof, and Malanshof.

"The 1960s saw the advent of Joburg's first suburban shopping malls – which, gradually, drew consumers away from the established shopping precincts in 'town'. By the mid-1980s, the largest department stores had left the CBD and set up shop in the new malls. Even as office developments mushroomed in Braamfontein, new decentralised business nodes were being developed in Parktown, Rosebank, Sandton and Randburg – following similar 'patterns of location' to the malls," the book notes.

In 1976, the Randburg Town Council initiated construction on a mall. Then, by 1985, government proposed expanding Randburg's central business district. In December 1997, a revitalisation strategy was drawn up to rejuvenate the Randburg business district.

Subsequently, greater Randburg is today known for its many shopping centres, which include Northgate Mall, Cresta Shopping Centre, Brightwater Commons, Randburg Square (formerly Sanlam Shopping Centre), Appletons Village, Banbury Cross Village, Blairgowrie Plaza, Braam Fischer Shopping Centre, Boskruin Village, Bromhof Village Centre, Ferndale Shopping Centre, Lifestyle Garden Centre, Northlands Deco Park, Randridge Mall, and Windsor Glen.

The suburb is an excellent business stay destination, offering travellers The Fairway Hotel and Spa, Randburg Inn & Towers Hotel, Road Lodge, and Mercure Inn. It also caters for students, with a wide selection of learning institutions and schools such as Damelin College (Ruiterhof), Boston City Campus and Business College, Hoërskool Randburg, St Stithians College, and Trinityhouse High School, among others.

Randburg is also popular with major businesses; Multichoice and its associated companies, M-Net and SuperSport, are based here, along with commercial and light industrial companies in Strijdom Park. Residents and the area's many workers also have access to a range of healthcare facilities such as Olivedale Clinic, Medi-Cross Clinic, Randburg Clinic, and the Randburg Day Clinic.

The suburb's popularity rests on its mixed-use development, and the Johannesburg Development Agency is committed to making sure the area retains its property values and continues to be a choice destination for residents, businesses, students and workers.