On 23 March 1984 a four stand property with the area of 1980 sq metre was bought by the Transvaal Hindu Seva Samaj for R325 000-00. The newly purchased property was a boxing gym and was in a run down condition. The Committee at Mayfair tried to revamp the property but it was a hopeless task as it was never in a condition for the activities envisaged.
In 1987 the committee decided for a total renovation of the centre. Thus began the hard work of raising the necessary funds for providing the community with a suitable centre for the social, religious and cultural activities. With enthusiasm, dedication and sincerity the members of the committee together with the Bharatiya Padmini Samaj took up the challenge.
Mayfair Cultural Center.
Chairperson – B Chibabhai(Pops)
Vice Chairperson – M. Naran
Secretary – B. Morar
Treasurer – H. Bhima
Chairlady – Urmilaben Rama
Johannesburg Yuvak Mandal
Mayfair Cultural Centre
177 9th Avenue,
THE HINDU CREMATORIUM BRIXTON – JOHANNESBURG
A BRIEF HISTORY
The land upon which the Hindu Crematorium is built was obtained by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Negotiations for the allocation of the appropriate land between Gandhi and the Johannesburg Council started in 1908. On 24 September 1912 the Council allocated a piece of land 75 feet x 50 feet. Nothing further was done owing to the Passive Resistance campaign organised by Gandhi. On 2 February 1916 an earnest attempt was made to collect the necessary funds for the building of the Crematorium. The committee also applied to the Council for an increase in size of the land. On 29 May 1917 the request was granted and the land was increased to 150 feet x 150 feet.
The wood fired cremator built in 1918 was the finest brick structure of its kind in the world. The historical value was realised when under the democratically elected Government of the National Unity on the first Heritage date, 24 September 1995, the Hindu Crematorium was declared a National Monument.
The Crematorium Committee has commemorated all the donors who contributed towards the building of the National Heritage by installing a plaque. You are strongly advised to peruse the names as you may be surprised to find the names of your forefathers and acquaintances on this donor list.
On 17 April 1935 the Transvaal Hindu Seva Samaj took charge of the crematorium. A sub-committee was formed to see to the running of the crematorium. On 6 November 1954 the Crematorium Committee presented plans to build a gas fired crematorium. The public was asked to subscribe to the fund and once again the response was magnificent. The new crematorium was officially opened by the Mayor of Johannesburg, Councillor Max Goodman on 13 October 1957.
The names of the donors are honoured on an engraved plaque which is mounted on the wall in the chapel of the crematorium.
The gas fired cremator which has served the community since 1956 had to be completely refurbished. We were fortunate enough to obtain a committed and dedicated expert in this field. By the end of August 1999 the work was completed at the cost of
R120 205-00. The cost included the complete relining of the cremator, installation of stainless steel chimney and the strapping of the two brick chimneys with stainless steel belts.
The committee had also decided to install a new cremator in order to render reliable service for years to come. The new cremator was tested and handed over on 11 June 1998. The cost for this cremator including installation was R290 905-00.
It should be noted that a Crematorium Fund was floated on 23 November 1996. A sum of R279 461-76 was realized when the fund closed on 10 March 2000.
As promised a plaque records the generous donations of all contributors. The names are now part of the heritage and have been recorded for generations to come.
GRAVES AT WEST PARK CEMETERY
The committee made representation to the Greater Metropolitan Council of Johannesburg in order to secure land for burial at West Park Cemetery.
On 18 October 1999 a letter of confirmation was received in which a section at West Park Cemetery had been allocated for approximately 300 persons of the Hindu Religious Faith. To date 25 April 2002 only one grave has been utilised. Mr Ruthman Naidoo is buried in Grave No. 1 in the Hindu section of the cemetery. He was buried on 16 November 1999.
POST MORTEM OF PERSONS BELONGING TO HINDU RELIGION
The committee had received numerous complaints with regard to have post mortem done on persons who had died under unnatural causes. These took several days before the remains could be left to rest.
It was therefore imperative that post mortem should be conducted as soon as possible.
The Crematorium Committee had made representation to the Provincial Commissioner, South Africa Police Service – Gauteng. The Commissioner Mr S. Maharaj sent out a directive : Reference 32/1/3 dated 30 June 1997 to all the Area Commissioners of South African Police Service in Johannesburg, Soweto, Pretoria, Vaal Rand (Vereeniging), East Rand (Germiston), and West Rand (Krugersdorp). He instructed the concerned persons to carry out post mortems on persons belonging to the Hindu and Muslim religion(s) on the individual concerned on the date of his/her death.
The Condolence Parlour was built in 1957 in memory of Dayal Naran.