Drill Hall, Johannesburg

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Drill Hall, Johannesburg

In reply to an article in The Star Taryn Mackay wrote a powerful letter which gives us a good idea of the late 2012 state of the Drill Hall. Below are a few excerpts:

"The Drill Hall is rundown and rugged but it is loved and cared for. "

"The Drill Hall is embroiled in a complex process of ownership transfer from provincial to local government - the hard work of a country in transition. All the stakeholders, the City of Joburg included, are, however, in conversation and trying to resolve this situation. Finalising the issue will allow lesees to legitimately sub-let to the many people who are in need of organic, free, creative spaces in the city, and thus secure the funds to communally pay for the required services."

The Star had stated that ten years after a major restoration the site was 'partially vandalised, completely neglected, dirty and surrounded by illegal businesses such as mechanics and street traders.'

Please use this thread for your comments, photos and updates.

History of the Drill Hall

This article was compiled for the 75th Anniversary of the Drill Hill in 1979. A lot has changed since then. http://www.heritageportal.co.za/article/drill-hall-historical-snippets

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Old Photos

Here are some old photos taken from the archives of the Egoli Heritage Foundation

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New Exhibition Opens

A new exhibition, 56 years to the Treason Trial, has opened at the Drill Hall. Here is a description...http://www.heritageportal.co.za/article/56-years-treason-trial-new-exhib...

Toward the end it mentions the reopening of the point Black gallery which I hope is a good sign for the building. I'll have to go and check things out on the ground.

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Current Use

Here is another excerpt from Taryn Mackay's 1/11/12 letter:

"The Drill Hall has three tenants that hold a provisional lease with the Joburg Property Company. These are Time for Change Bakery, Joburg Child Welfare and Joubert Park Project (JPP).

The bakery is a woman-empowerment initiative that creates much-needed employment for vulnerable women and young people who migrate to Joburg rom rural areas and find themselves in the harsh inner city environment. Every morning they sell delicious scones and quintessential Joburg treat of magwinya, or fat cakes. In winter you are able to buy a warm cup of soup from the bakery for R5. Their most reliable customers are school children and all sorts of workers that make use of the busy Noord Street transport node.

Joburg Child Welfare runs the south block of the complex. It provides computer and hairstyling training to empower at-risk youth to generate their own income. It also hosts recreational sports activities.

JPP is an arts initiative that works closely with the Johannesburg Art Gallery. As is the nature of art initiatives, we collaborate and pool resources. JPP shares the gallery space and the north block of the complex with the Keleketla Library Project. Since 1008 young, cultural activists have given their time, money and skills to build a literary resource at the Drill Hall for young people in the inner city. For nearly five years they've provided an after school arts and culture programme."

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Drive by Pic

Took a drive past the Drill Hall today. The building is looking very tired to be honest... see pic below.

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Times Article

Article on the Drill Hall in the times this morning. A few excerpts:

  • Derelict state despite a R10 million upgrade funded by the COJ in 2004.
  • Unpaid bills led to power cuts in May.
  • Tenants in talk with COJ to resolve maintenance issues.
  • No structures to manage public space and security.
  • Owned by DPW. Transfer taking place to COJ.
  • Gabu Tugwana...Once the transfer was complete the city would restore the Drill Hall to its former glory.
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