This growing blog is a very general history of Johannesburg.

I’m not a professional researcher or historian and while I try to give a good overall coverage to each suburb or topic, I focus on what interests me. While I’m happy to assist anyone with additional information, I’m often not able to help as the requests fall out of what I’m able to access (this includes access to birth records which, for some reason, I’m always asked about). Please contact me by mail and I’ll see what I can do. I keep all the correspondence and if I ever come across additional info, I will pass it on. Please also understand that this is an interest I pursue in my spare time.

For a professional genealogical research service do visit Heather MacAlister’s www.ancestors.co.za. She worked on the South African edition of ‘Who do you think you are’.

For Johannesburg Jewish genealogical information please visit Eli Rabinowitz’s site Jewishgen.org

The posts on this blog up to March 2013 were originally hosted on Posterous. They’ve all been cleaned up and the photos updated.

I am also happy to add or update information relevant to the posts. I’ve had some good feedback from relatives of people I’ve written about on certain posts and have corrected other inaccuracies. Any old relevant pictures are welcome. I also regularly update information and add new pictures to old posts, so do check back.

How it all started:

While doing renovations to our home in Melville, we discovered via the original plans that the house was to turn 100 in 2012. This led to me try to track down a picture of what the house originally looked like which in turn exposed me to the fascinating history of the city. I discovered that many old houses and buildings were gone forever but at the same time, saw that many were still around. I wanted to find as many as I could and show ‘then & now’ comparisons as well as highlight those long gone.

While doing all of this, a feint thread of a new story started to emerge. Documenting what I was finding while working some of that historical fact into the story seemed like good idea. As I write with a comic in mind, the old and new pictures would serve as reference for whoever draws it one day.

This was overtaken by an offer from Penguin to write ‘Johannesburg Then and Now’ in late 2016. The book was completed in July 2018 with ‘now’ photography by Yeshiel Panchia and is now available. CLICK HERE for list of retailers and formats.

Johannesburg Then and Now

Johannesburg Then and Now

I’ve yet to find any pictures of my house – although I have come close (if one counts squinting at a zoomed in aerial photo). The search continues…

Marc Latilla

Marc Latilla portrait by Yeshiel Panchia

About Marc Latilla:

Husband to a beautiful wife, father to two (mostly) adorable boys and some cats, DJ, author and jaded music industry person.

My general site can be found here.

74 thoughts on “About

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  1. Brent on said:

    Your bit on Masonic buildings in Jhb was extremely interesting. Are you yourself a Mason ? I have always had an interest in Masonry and early SA.

    • Marc Latilla on said:

      Hi Brent, I’m not a Mason but given my curiosity, I had to investigate the history. I’ve uncovered some additional info on some early lodges as wells as info from readers which I will add to the piece over the next few months.

  2. Thanks for the interesting info on a favourite place for me late sixties and early seventies

  3. Troy Meyers on said:

    Nostalgic, spent a decade of my life here, crave that rarefied cosmopolitan air… unparalleled

  4. Vera Erasmus on said:

    Good morning
    Hopefully you can help me with the following.
    What building stood on 25 Terrace Road Bertrams in the time frame 1946 – 1948.
    And maybe who lived there.
    At the moment it is bare land.
    We are reaserching our family tree and history.
    25 Terrace Road Bertrams was written on Navy records by a family member as his mother’s address. Wich is strange because as far as we know she did not live there.
    We appreciate your assistance.

  5. Chris Steyl on said:

    Hi Marc, l discovered your website only today. I am looking for information on/maps of Braamfontein/Hillbrow in the 1940’s. Specifically the location of the Technical College and related hostels. Background: We discovered 60 letters of an aunt who studied Domestic Science (then called Housewivery!) from 1941 – 43. All the letters are to her parents and in Afrikaans. We are trying to retrace her steps and references in her letters. (Have so far pinpointed the 2 churches she refers to: 1 Beit St & 117 De Korte St). Any reference will be appreciated. Chris

    • Marc Latilla on said:

      Hi Chris, I’ve sent you a DM. 1 Beit Str is the second version c1970 of the old Irene Church. 117 De Korte was the c1897 Dutch Reform Church demolished in the 1950s.

  6. Marco Di stefano on said:

    So cool and amazing ,thank u for the awesome memories , loved the arcades in hillbrow each game was 20cents

  7. What an interesting discovery – thank you.

  8. Ferdie Lombard vintage 1934 on said:

    The Catholic church in Braamfontein was actually in Stiemens Street just off Bertha Street. Lawson motors were on the corner and the church next to Lawson (Wilfred) Motors, Shell garage

    • Bill Smith on said:

      good morning, is Smit street named after Abraham Smit who stayed on the farm Turffontein? Do you have any info on House no 42,Frere Road ,Betrams? thankyou! Bill Smith,bsmith@cut.ac.za

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