Rivonia is a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa in the Sandton area. It is located in Region E of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality. Rivonia is one of the most affluent residential and business suburbs of Johannesburg, and is regarded as the hub of upstart and established I.T. companies. The main retail thoroughfare in the area, Rivonia Boulevard, is the location of several shopping complexes as well as many other shops and restaurants. The area known as Rivonia includes the original township of Edenburg, Edenburg Extension 1, and 19 smaller extensions designated 'Rivonia Extension ...', numbered from 0 to 25. There is no designated township (in the legal sense) called Rivonia. The postcode for Rivonia is 2128.
Rivonia lies between the Braamfontein Spruit and the Sandspruit, and was the location of Liliesleaf Farm (26°2′36″S 28°3′15″E), where in 1963 many of the accused in the Rivonia Treason Trial were arrested. The earliest public transport into Johannesburg was by donkey cart, later by bus.
A Carmelite Convent, accommodating Discalced Carmelite Nuns, sat in the centre of the village until displaced by commercial pressures. (They moved to Benoni.) In a commemorative move, the large shopping centre first built on the site was named The Cloisters. The earlier village lay on the direct path of access along Rivonia Road to the south to the new 'concrete' highway, with a nasty dogleg in the road at 12th Avenue. When it was decided to redesign and improve Rivonia Road through to the highway, the bowling greens and tennis courts of the Rivonia Recreation Club were in the way, and the Club relocated to a handsome new site in Achter Road in Paulshof, leaving only the Rivonia Hall and Library on the original site. Rivonia Produce, a landmark and long-established family business, supplying inter alia hay to the many local horse owners, was also forced to move from the dogleg on 12th Avenue to a new building on 11th Avenue. It has since been swallowed into a national hardware chain and disappeared.
Hewlett-Packard's main Southern Africa and South Africa office and the registered office of Fujitsu in South Africa are in Rivonia. Before Rivonia was incorporated into the new town of Sandton, along with Bryanston, Sandown and Morningside, it was administered by the Peri-Urban Areas Health Board.
Sandton is an affluent area in the Gauteng Province, South Africa and forms part of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality. The name of the town came from the combination of two of its suburbs, Sandown and Bryanston. In 1969 Sandton was promulgated as a municipality in its own right, but lost its status as an independent town after the re-organisation of South African local governments after Apartheid ended.
Archaeological findings suggest the area, which Sandton comprises today, had originally been occupied by various indigenous groups, before European settlement, most notably the Tswana and, to a lesser extent, Sotho people. The remains of an Iron Age smelter was discovered in Lone Hill, a suburb of northern Sandton. One of the first Voortrekker parties to settle in the area were the Esterhuysen family on the farm Zandfontein (Afrikaans and Dutch for Sandy Spring or Sand Fountain). A monument to commemorate them may be found just off Adrienne Street in Sandown where the family cemetery is located. Zandfontein, Driefontein (Afrikaans and Dutch for Three Springs/Fountains) and Rietfontein (Afrikaans and Dutch for Reed Spring or Fountain of Reeds) encumbered what was to become Sandton. The municipal coat of arms of Sandton pays homage to the three farms with three round fountain barrels on its chevron. In the late 19th-century the Wilhelmi family of Hannover, Germany acquired the farm Driefontein No. 3 while Rietfontein was owned by the Ehler family. The original Driefontein homestead, now within the confines of the Field & Study Centre, was looted during the Anglo-Boer War. The ruins are visible on the northern bank of the Klein Jukskei River. The Wilhemi family, upon return from Germany built the 'new' 1906 Driefontein Farmhouse on what is present-day Fifteenth Street, Parkmore cum Riverclub. The farmhouse served as the icon and headquarters for the now-defunct Sandton Historical Foundation and is listed as a City of Johannesburg Owned Heritage Site.The
1960s and 1970s
Sandton was established as a separate municipality in 1969 by the office of the Administrator of the Transvaal. It had formerly not formed part of Johannesburg but was managed, in part by the 'parent city' and Pretoria through the North Eastern Peri-Urban Land administration. Initially, it was very much a residential area consisting mostly of small holdings with a rural "horsey" lifestyle attracting many of the upper-middle classes and Johannesburg elites. It was subsequently dubbed the "mink and manure" belt.The Rivonia Trial derives its name from the locality of Liliesleaf Farm within the Sandton suburb where many of the Black freedom fighters such as Nelson Mandela were captured by the South African state and subsequently tried for treason. Rivonia had previously been known as Edenburg and was changed to make itself distinct from Edenburg, Free State. It was named for the surname Riven. Sandton and its constituencies were traditionally relatively more liberal than surrounds. For example, the motion which never materialised by residents in favour of the inclusion of Alexandra, Gauteng then a demarcated black township in terms of the Group Areas Act, into Sandton's jurisdiction proved troublesome for the National Party government which had a strong constituency in the adjacent town of Randburg.
1980s and 1990s
The construction of Sandton City by Rapp & Maister (which was eventually taken over by the Liberty Group which still retains 75% of the complex) marked a significant change for the Sandton area. It created rapid commercialisation and industrialisation. Sandton came to symbolise the White Flight movement of Johannesburg and secured itself as Johannesburg's second Central Business District. After the demise of Apartheid, by 1996, Sandton initially formed part of the interim Eastern Metropolitan Substructure, and in 2000 came to be included, along with the former towns of Randburg and Roodepoort, as part of the newly demarcated City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality thus losing its separate municipal government and town status. Despite this, Sandton is still unofficially earmarked as a distinct region of the city and operates as a macro-suburb.
Role in 21st century Johannesburg
Financial and business centre
Urban decay in downtown Johannesburg caused many corporate offices to move from the Johannesburg Central Business District to Sandton in the 1990s. It has become the new financial district of South Africa and Johannesburg's premier business centre. Much of the financial focus of Johannesburg has shifted from the Central Business District to Sandton. However, three of South Africa's four largest banks have kept their head offices in downtown Johannesburg, along with Transnet, the transport parastatal. The other bank, Nedbank, has its headquarters in Sandton. A considerable amount of the city's A-grade office space is to be found in Sandton. The JSE Securities Exchange, Johannesburg's stock exchange, relocated its offices to Sandton from the central business district in the late 1990s. Sandton's gain was the central business district's loss: it resulted from urban blight of the downtown Johannesburg area.
Sandton is home to the Sandton Convention Centre, one of the largest convention centres on the continent and the primary site of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (also known as "Rio + 10"), which Johannesburg hosted. The convention centre also hosted the African National Congress' victory celebrations after the party was re-elected at the 2004 election.
Massmart has its head office in the Massmart House in Sandton. Ster-Kinekor has its head office in the Ster-Kinekor Office Park in Eastgate, Sandton. IBM's and Hewlett Packard's main Southern Africa and South Africa offices are in Sandhurst and Rivonia respectively. In 2013, petrochemical giant Sasol announced the development of their new headquarters in Wierda Valley, Sandton.
The Sandton Central commercial node, centred on the suburbs of Sandown and Sandhurst has some of the best and most expensive commercial properties and offices in South Africa. A number of new developments are underway including 6 Benmore (Capital Hill), Atrium on 5th, Alice Lane and Katherine and West which is situated directly opposite the Sandton Gautrain Station. One of the highest-rated Green buildings in South Africa, the Upper Grayston Office Park, is located in Sandton.
Industrial areas situated in Sandton are Wynberg and Kramerville. Kramerville, once a run-down area, is now trendy and is the centre of the design and textiles industry in Sandton.
Tourism and retail hub
One of the main attractions in Sandton is Sandton City, which ranks among the largest shopping centres in Africa. The completion of this precinct by the Liberty Group was the catalyst for the subsequent development of this entire area. Together with Nelson Mandela Square, the centre, with some 144,000 m2 of shopping space, is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere (behind Chadstone Shopping Centre). Much of Johannesburg's business tourism is centred on Sandton, which has various 5-star hotels under the Southern Sun, Hilton, Radisson and Protea brands.
Liberty Group announced in 2008 that Sandton City will receive a R 1,77-billion upgrade. Nelson Mandela Square, formerly known as Sandton Square, was renamed in March 2004, after the unveiling of a 6-metre bronze statue of the former South African president. Liliesleaf Farm, where Nelson Mandela lived in the early 1960s and where many leading political activists were arrested in 1963 and tried as part of the now-infamous Rivonia Trial, is just north of Nelson Mandela Square, close to the N1 Highway, off Rivonia Road. Discovery Holdings has, in 2018, completed a large new head office along with a shopping mall in the area.
Old Mutual South Africa's head office, as of 2018, is being constructed. A 55-floor mixed-use building, The Leonardo, became the tallest building in all of Africa at 234 metres (768 ft) following its topping out in 2018.
Concerns have been raised as to whether Sandton has the necessary road and water infrastructure to sustain the massive development that is characteristic of Johannesburg in the 21st century (since the demise of Apartheid and the Group Areas Act).
Sandton Central Management District
The central business area of Sandton is divided into three City Improvement Districts, which have a unified identity called the Sandton Central Management District, branded as Sandton Central. This district is responsible, using additional funds levied on its behalf by the municipality, for the provision of additional services. The Sandton Central Management district provides additional cleaning, law enforcement, beautification and planning services to the area it services.