Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Vanishing Impala

Oppenheimer Park, situated between President and Pritchard Streets, was a pleasant green spot in between the high rise commercial blocks of the old Johannesburg. Its central feature was a fountain, over which lept a stunning piece of sculpture: a series of Impala, all linked. The statue was so marvellous that it was a tourist attraction in the official guides to Johannesburg. Here is what it looked like then:
By the late 1990s, Oppenheimer Park had been trashed by the New South Africa. Bits of the statue were stolen by being hacksawed off, probably to be sold as scrap metal. Finally, the inevitable happened, and the entire statue was stolen, hacked off its pedastal. On the pictures below, the original mountings can still be seen. The council has placed a table where the statues and fountain used to be.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy shit! Excuse my french but what I once knew is no more! How can things change so drastically and so much for the worst... its so so sad. :-(

I'm really and truly at a loss for words.

Sorry to SA and it's people that are stuck there, but my first thoughts at looking at all these pictures was "cancer" ... it's the same thing, silent and very deadly if it is not stopped soon enough.

I wish I could help you all other than a lone pray. God-speed!!!

PS, people, you need to realise, this is not a black or white thing. This is a criminal element. I have met a few black people in my new home country who left SA for the same reasons... security and the future of their children even though they are black.

So please stop the white black issue. And before you flame me, I don't like or dislike black people for their skin colour at all. If they're of the low end with no respect for life etc, then screw 'em... same goes for the whites in the same bracket I'm afraid.

4:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anybody make take a photogtraph from the exact same spot than the original (1st) photograph?

4:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had a raibow nation in the olden days...just look at the beautiful photograph with the rainbow.

Now the rainbow is gone, and it is just HELL.

4:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ek hou van die oranje, wit en bou in die boonste foto!

4:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The original sculpture was salvaged, restored and can now be found a few blocks south-west in the still somewhat more respectable business district.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More info please on new location of Springbok statue, Google is not finding anything.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This IS a black or white thing. The blacks ARE the criminals. The blacks you've met are the minority group of their kind.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Africa Addio said...

Anon 1 said -
people, you need to realise, this is not a black or white thing......I don't like or dislike black people for their skin colour at all.

You are right anon, as Martin Luther King famously said - "do not judge us by the color of our skins, but by the content of our character.."

I have followed his advice, thus my conscience is clear....

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, give Europe, North America and other few Western civilizations time and they will look like this as well. It is just a matter of time. Riots in France and LA, terrorist bombings.

2:54 AM  
Blogger Eenspaaier said...

Unfortunately for all of u color-blind people, this has always been , is and always will be white and black issue. Whites were the ones who made all of those and black are those who destroyed it. This seems to be the pattern all over the world. Whites are the ones who settle, develop, and build and the others can be almost defined simply by 'those who destroy the house that Whitey built' One builds, the other ruins it. One way street.

4:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the leaping buck statue was donated by ernest oppenheimer. the statue was moved to the vicinity of 44 main street to prevent its further vandalising, and was repaired.

please check whether this is correct

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Konrad Kruger said...

PS. Those are sculptures of a herd of Impala.

So it should read:

"The Vanishing Impala"

Look after yourself & keep up the awesome work.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful things are these internets, googling the Impala Stampede reveals that that the Statue had been vandalised then "privatised" back to Anglo American. The following link also came up discussing the Rissik St Post Office.

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your pic of the impala is totally misleading, as it shows it standing proudly in its new location in the Anglo American precinct at 44 Main Street. It was removed and rebuilt by the son of the original sculptor and now adds to the pedestrian walkway which runs from the Magistrate's Courts up to the old bus terminus at Van Der Bijl Square (now Ghandi Square for those of you who no longer live here). Yes, the Oppenheimer Park has not yet received the attention of the Council, but is on the cards. And please don't feel sorry for those of us who are "stuck" here; most of us are here by choice!

5:32 PM  
Blogger The Real Realist said...

Anonymous said... Your pic of the impala is totally misleading, as it shows it standing proudly in its new location in the Anglo American precinct at 44 Main Street.

Wrong! The pic of the leaping Impala was taken in the 1970s when it was still in Oppenheimer Park. Don't lie now, it isn't becoming.

And it was stolen, hacked away at, etc. etc. - even if salvaged and then "reprivatised" as someone in the comments above, pointed out.

What you fail to see is the reason why it had to be moved in the first place.... of of course, it's Whitey's fault, how silly of me not to understand straight away. Sorry.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember my mother taking my sister and I to this park while we were on vacation in 'Joburg'.We found the jumping antelope fountain so beautiful that I remember I even had a postcard of it and used to see it in picture books of "Majestic South Africa".I'm truly shocked as a South African now living in the USA to see the utter destruction of what was once a modern, beautiful city.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, give Europe, North America and other few Western civilizations time and they will look like this as well. It is just a matter of time. Riots in France and LA, terrorist bombings.

Unless Whites do something soon and kick out the non-Whites from their nations, you're right.

I like the diversity of the world, that means each peoples stay in their own continent/nation.

Whites sent man to the moon, we found Blacks still hunting with spears. What is the benefit from having them in our nations?

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wanna immigrate to the USA. let the black americans come live here.

7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second that, let's do a swop out! Heck, I'll even consider a swop out with his majesty, the holiness, king of kings, Sir Robert Mugabe!

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The heads of the Impala were sawn off and stolen for scrap metal. Anglo American rescued the remains as the FOUNTAIN was the Harry Oppenheimer Fountain and was a gift to the city by HO. The statue is fully restored and now graces the plaza between 44 and 45 Main Street the site of the original Anglo head office.

10:09 PM  
Anonymous qynch said...

I spent many a strolls past the Oppenheimer garderns and the leaping impala; alas, HO is resting in peace, but despite 44 Main st being the offices of Anglo, under the Oppenheimer in power, the company has moved it's assets abroad, btw, Carlton Centre designed by architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP was as joint venture between Anglo and SAB, all have moved to greener pastures

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a shame, I worked very close to that great fountain and remember vividly one freezing cold morning, icicles two foot long,hanging down from the statue, it looked like fairyland.
Are there no policemen maintaining some sort of protection or security for the poor people having to live there with this criminal scum element.

9:44 AM  
Blogger anon said...

one of my earliest memories is being brought to this park as a young child, i was probably three years old it was about 1974. to the toddler that i was, the impala statue was one of the most fascinating things i had ever seen. all i can say now is 'long live the memories!'

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mean to say that the spectacular picnic table now there is not an equally great draw of international tourists? How surprising.

5:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Detroit, Michigan, USA pretty much looks the same way in many parts. It was completely abandoned to the blacks, and, as nature takes its course, the same images are repeated. Liberals are so damn blind!!! This is a disgrace -- heck, it is a SIN what was allowed to happen. A good warning to other nations to never allow any significant black immigration (which France and England are now learning the hard way)!!

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi to all the uninformed. the impala are back! main street is alive and well with loads of coffeshops. ghandi square rocks. its safe, its clean, awesome buildings. the carlton hotel is up for refurbishment. the only really bad area is joubert park -soon to change.

realrealist -when last did you walk on the streets of joburg?

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks better now than the last time I saw it - then only barren soil was visible with a couple of squatter huts

4:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My God! I remember walking past that sculpture to work and back in the late eighties when everything was still decent. I just cannot believe it now. Looks like a zoo - or, rather, inside of the monkey cage at the zoo - only difference is the primates won't steel anything.

Makes my blood boil....

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk about vanishing impala?

Why don't you ask Oppenheimer about the vanishing South African assets that he and his ilk has been manipulating all these years!

Do you really think the likes of Anglo American will lose one night's sleep over a few bronze impala. They're too busy stripping SA of its primary assets, exporting it to the industrialized nations of the world and making money.

Now that they're dealing with the idiots the world has helped them put into political power, the profits is just so much easier to come by and larger!

How sad the misplaced sentiment

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking at these pictures, make me so sad, but makes me realise why I left South Africa. All my friends that still live there always say everything is great. Well, they obviously shop at the malls and bi-pass yesterday. In a lot of the big cities of the world, the same thing is happening in their back garden. It is true, just so sad.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Scribbler said...

I remember the "before" scene well even the rainbow. My mom worked in the building behind the statue and it was one of my first sights of Johannesburg it brings me to tears to see it desolate now.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

' i wanna immigrate to the USA. let the black americans come live here. '

You can't imagine how I would love to trade them for you.


4:21 PM  
Anonymous Mike G UK said...

I think you got it wrong, the statue was removed by the council and moved else where I think it was the Joburg zoo, I stand corrected on this one it was moved to stop any more bits stolen off it, the scrap value was virtually nil as it was mainly caste-iron.
Dont blame apartheid blame the rest of the world, who in their right minds gives their kids the family finances to run. The world cant even have a booze up in a brewery without messing it up

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Mike G UK said...

Opps sorry the Openheimers Impala were move to Gold Reef Casino entrance not the JHB Zoo

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry to say guys i think some of you have been awy to long to the best of my knowledge it was removed from where the pic was taken after vandils stole the horns as some one has mentioned it was then removed for restoration and as far as i am awre it is at Harry Openheimer's residence in Houghton

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've lived in Canada for three years now and I'm never coming back. It breaks my heart to see these pictures. I used to love walking downtown in Joey's, now I walk with my son in Toronto. It's not about race, it's about poverty, and government. I wish all in South Africa nothing but the best, but it's not the place for me or my family.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has the table (which replaced the impalas) not been stolen since?

7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, you are right! Surely the table that replaced the Impala statue has been chopped up for firewood by now?

6:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived there for many years,I remember when it was safe,clean and pretty.............I now reside in england and have noticed they are doing the same over you think it is a black thing?

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its a black thing and its happening all around the world now,
whites are now getting walked over ,and should stand up to it............never mind being politically correct,,,,,mugabe check him out.............

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oranje, Blanje, Blou!!!!

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somewhere I still have a photo ,taken in winter, where you could see the iced up Impala's."Ashes to ashes, dust to dust" takes on a new meaning in JoBurg

6:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful sculpture that was! If only someone could have saved it before its destruction.

My heart bleeds for what used to be.

6:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like a then and now version of any American neighborhood where the black population of that neighborhood has gone over 50%. Busted windows, stolen items, trash everywhere, etc.

Look at old pictures of certain neighborhoods when it was either White/Asian/Arab/South American populated and the place looks great. Blacks move in and the place ends up looking like a nuclear weapon went off nearby.

People can blame Apartheid or poverty or whatever else all they like. The result of black neighborhoods all look the trash. The connection cannot be ignored.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former SA resident..I say to any Europeans still there...get out now, claim asylum in Europe if you have to. S.Africa is dead, it's gone and only despair and destruction lies in wait for anyone who stays...leave them to they're 3rd world fate/doom..GET OUT NOW WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!

1:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Terribly sad indeed. Its even more saddening how the liberal media ignores this...well this is their doing, so I guess no-one enjoys admitting defeat.

3:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up there, worked in Johannesburg passing those buildings which were lovely, clean and acceptable, places to be proud off. All I can say is God help those of you that can't leave S.A. because it won't be the same again, not in our lifetime anyway !!!!

2:50 PM  
Anonymous nEd said...

What a surprise. I entered (didn't win) the competition that this sculpture won back in the 60s. Had many a lunch in the park which I'm sure was larger.
There was criticism at the time that the lead animal was unnaturally turning its head as it landed, probably had it head hacked off for that reason.
How jo'burg has changed .
Any views of the 'Wilds', once a botanical garden with useful private corners?

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Kiwijoller said...

My God, this is unbelievable! I was born in Rhodesia, lived there for 24 years, emigrated to SA where I lived for 16 years then left SA 14 years ago to live in New Zealand - one of the best decisions of my life. SA was once a beautiful country but now I just want to cry when I see what these idiots are doing. I'm sorry but I cannot see how apartheid is to blame for what is going on there. The consciousness of these donkeys is just so low. Even in other African countries where there is no such thing as apartheid, this type of destruction is king. You know what, I feel no pity for the people that live there and do this for they like dogs - no thought for the future, for others, for the environment, just their immediate needs. May they rot in your own hellhole. Such a waste. No wonder racism is alive and well. These people fuel it and then have the audacity to balme others for the results of their thoughtless choices. There is no excuse. I can just imagine the police corruption too. If you have any common sense and can get out now, you'd be wise to do so.

6:44 AM  
Blogger Wayne said...

What cunts,the white mans fucked

1:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the Impala Well - we had family picnics in the park in the sixties - so sad to see what has happened there. I originally lived in Soper Road in Berea, a lovely Jacaranda lined street, felt very safe there. We then moved to End St in Doornfontein in a block of flats called Sherwyn Court - right between the doornfontein railway station and the Jewish Government School (I H Harris primary), couple of good parks there as well with joubert park only a few blocks north up Hancock Street. Are the swimming baths in Hilbrow still there ? (doubt it). I was against the apartheid regime whilst living there, but seeing whats happened since has changed my mind, I have never considered myself a rascist, but I'm not so sure after seeing what is happening to SA since apartheid's demise, those original founders were obviously aware of something we are having to learn again !!! any chance of photos of the area i lived in beside the station or school in Doornfontein ??

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Liz said...

I cant believe it!! I used to work part time at the Jeppe Post Office to help my parents. On a Sunday after doing my 4 hourly shift I used to sit in the Oppenheimer Park a do embroidery to pass time then visit my dad who was in the JHB Gen Hospital.That was in 1968, JHB was such a beautiful safe place I wouldnt dare drive past that spot today!!

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel like puking every time I visit this website! I used to spend my lunchtimes relaxing in this park back in 1974, when I worked across the street in Glencairn Building, 73 Market Street. (To the previous poster: This IS a BLACK thing! It has happened in every city across Africa after "uhuru". It has also happened in the USA where blacks have infested inner cities - Detroit, New Orleans ... the list is endless!) -- Keep up the good work, Realist!

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know why people want to defend the blacks as there are many who are decent and many many are victims of crime, but must agree that their character in general is to destroy. They will never have the cafe society culture but greasy chicken outlet culture with empty greasy boxes on the pavements...

I say this as I moved to London and their areas in London are dirty and turning into slums (though the councils here do try to stop it). When I compare it to the Hindu areas in East London (UK), the Hindus are cleaner and a clear contrast to where the blacks are.

So I am merely pointing out what the eye sees here in the 1st world

8:18 AM  
Anonymous Lorenzo said...

How the fuck can you destroy a work of art, a once vibrant city and all its history ? This site brings back a lot of happy memories of the old Joburg

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Nic said...


I'm really very distressed by these photos.

I've a snapshot somewhere of my family and me at that fountain, taken in the early 80s or late 70s.

11:08 PM  

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