Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Johannesburg Post Office Burns

Thanks to an anonymous commentator for this tip.

I have to admit to a love of old buildings and a particular sadness when they are destroyed. Landmarks like these live long in the human memory and often represent all that is best about a culture.

How a country treats its heritage says a lot about how it will treat its people.

A fire has ripped through the old post office in Rissik Street in the Johannesburg city centre.

The blaze broke out inside the historic building on Sunday night firefighters took up to five hours to extinguish the blaze.

The building, which is over 100 years old, has been in a state of disrepair for several years now following incidents of vandalism.

"No one was injured and our fire safety offices will be doing investigations to find out what caused the fire," said Johannesburg Emergency Services’s Nana Radebe.

This is the second fire at the post office in recent months.

In September, the City of Johannesburg called for proposals for the development of the building.

"Unspeakable" Shame

Heritage architect Henry Paine described the burning of the old Rissik Street Post Office as an "unspeakable" shame.

"I don't know what to say. I'm equally furious and despondent," he said, adding that officials at the City of Joburg Property Company (JPC) should be held accountable for the loss and immediately charged.

"This is not something they didn't know about. The clock was stolen 10 years ago - and the bell in the clock was an actual replica of the small bell in Big Ben. There has been a gradual dismantling of the building over 10 years," Paine said.

Cast iron columns in the building had also been stolen. "Those columns would have needed 20 men to shift one. And still the JPC couldn't stop them."

The building had been in a neglected state for a long time as this 2002 article illustrates.

4 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

Another fire set by the kaffirs in Joburg. These savages would like to burn down all of the buildings the whites (the superior race) have erected in South Africa.

Anonymous said...

Well, what do animals know about the beauty of architecture. All they know is the mud hut.

Anonymous said...

A shame. Symptomatic of the collapse of a wonderful country. I recall going to that post office 100s of times in my youth but stopped going there in the late 90s.

Anonymous said...

@ Viking, it's about respect and values. We must value our past and buildings and our heritage must be respected, two concepts foreign to the black mindset. To them, unless they can eat it or shag it, it's worthless.