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James Mpanza House
James Mpanza House plaques
Mpanza Lions on the wall of the James Mpanza House

This house belonged to James Sofasonke Mpanza a prominent Squatter leader from the mid-1940s of the powerful squatter movement in “Shantytown”, a crusader for better housing for Johannesburg's Africans. The house was a significant site where public meetings used to take place (it practically became the headquarters of the Sofasonke movement). .

Quick Facts
  • JP Tile No.: 3
  • Building Age: circa 1934
  • Name of site: James Sofasonke Mpanza House
  • Street address: No. 957, Pheele Street, Orlando East
  • District/Province/Region: Johannesburg / Gauteng
  • Ownership:
    • Previous Owner: James Sofasonke Mpanza House
    • Present Owners: Elizabeth Mpanza (Daughter: Deceased September 2006)
  • Site Type: Residential house
  • State of Conservation: The property is in acceptable preserved condition.


Description

James Mpanza house is a small standard-type rectangular semi-detached house, with corner veranda under the main roof. The veranda has been enlarged. The available space on the erf has been effectively utilised by the construction of informal structures (shacks) backed onto the boundary. These structures are currently for rentals. It has an outside toilets with a communal tap mostly used by the tenants.

CONSERVATION STATUS

The house remained unchanged since the 1930’s, with symbolic lions figures still at their original places. Several shacks have been erected around the boundary of the Erf. The house itself is still in a fairly good condition with the interior well-maintained and original ceilings still intact.

STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE

The house is closely associated with prominent Squatter leader James Mpanza. It is strongly connected with important political and social movements in the history of Soweto, especially during the turbulent 1940s. James Mpanza himself is a significant figure in our history, a founder and leader from the mid-1940s of the powerful squatter movement in “Shantytown”, a crusader for better housing for Johannesburg's Africans.

Given the fact that many black people who came to urban areas were without proper residential or dwelling places, Mpanza’s role in the struggle for housing and shelter will remain significant. Bearing in mind that at the time, the Orlando Advisory Board was the only organisation to represent black people in the urban areas, his house is a significant site where public meetings used to take place (it practically became the headquarters of the Sofasonke movement).

Legal Status (Decree/Act)
NHRA
Declared as a Provincial Heritage Site (Formal Protection status ) in Sept. 2011.
Authority Responsible Provincial Heritage Resources Authority
Gauteng

You can read a more detailed article on Wikipedia.


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