Alberton – 110 years of magic

Chairman of the Alberton Centenary Committee, Councillor Neil Diamond

ALBERTON – In 2004 Alberton celebrated 100 years. Back then the town hosted a Centenary Festival and this is the message from the Alberton Centenary Committee Chairperson, Councillor Neil Diamond:

“Om ‘n dorp se honderdjarige bestaan te vier, is ‘n gebeurtenis wat een keer in ‘n leeftyd gebeur en ek was geëerd dat dit in my leeftyd plaasgevind het. Dit was ‘n voorreg en ‘n eer om as voorsitter van die Albertonse Eeufees Komitee te dien in 2004. Die 100-jaar viering van ons geliefde dorp se bestaan was die toppunt van ons geskiedenis as ‘n gemeenskap. Alberton het van ‘n eenvoudige warboel van stof en huise in 1904 ontstaan. Werk was min en tye was moeilik. Alberton was afhanklik van die ekonomie van ons naaste bure en die goudhoofstad van die wêreld – Johannesburg. 2004 was ‘n algehele ander beeld. Die Alberton vandag is ‘n dinamiese, lewendige ekonomiese hartland. Ons eens klein dorpie het gegroei tot ‘n selfonderhoudende ekonomiese mag.”

2014 is a year of celebrations for Albertonians and, in fact, the whole South Africa. As Albertonians we celebrated 110 years of existence and, as a nation, we celebrated 20 years of our new democracy. The one true constant in life is change, and things have changed considerably in 110 years. As the face of our nation changed, so did the face of our town. In 2000 the Alberton Town Council merged with eight other East Rand towns to establish the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality. The foundation of our democracy was negotiated on our new city of Ekurhuleni on our doorstep in Kempton Park. Ekurhuleni residents celebrated centenaries in three towns in 2004 – Alberton, Kempton Park and Springs.

As Chairperson of the Alberton Centenary Committee and on behalf of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, I wish to extend congratulations to the community for celebrating 110 years of existence. In Alberton we are celebrating more than just existing, we are celebrating living. Every Albertonian, young and old, agree that there is no place to live on earth like living in our town. Celebrating 110 years of Alberton’s existence as the best place on earth is worth remembering. The saying goes “home is where the heart is”, and because this saying is nowhere more applicable than in Alberton, the Alberton Centenary Committee attempted to capture this feeling in 2004 with a centenary slogan “Home is where the town is”.

Albertonians enjoyed a great year of celebrations in 2004, remembering a number of sons and daughters delivered by Alberton. Many of our national sport heroes, artists, musicians, politicians and captains of the industry have strong roots in our small town. It would be impossible to single out an individual person to honour, but special mention must be made to those remarkable Albertonians who shaped and moulded out town into what it is today. I personally would like to single out Johann van der Merwe, who is widely regarded as the father of modern Alberton and was popularly known as “Mr Van” or “Mr Alberton” by his peers. Mr Van was also my mentor in local business, politics and life and I have great appreciation for his contribution to Alberton.

Alberton het ‘n sterk sakegemeenskap en industrieë wat trots is op hul verbintenis met hierdie dorp. Ons spog met ‘n groeikoers wat ver bo die nasionale gemiddelde groeikoers is, dog is daar baie uitdagings vir ons as ‘n gemeenskap. Alberton het ‘n groeiende residensiële mark en is seker een van die die mees gesogte adresse in die Oos-Rand.

The Alberton Centenary Committee had the special privilege to unveil the commemorative plaques in front of the Alberton Library. This stood to be an edifice devoted to promoting pride and citizenship of Alberton and Ekurhuleni for generations to come. The inscription of the centre stone reads as follows: “In 100 years the honourable men and woman of Alberton have made this one small humble town a vibrant, dynamic and thriving economics heartland. We commemorate Alberton’s centenary and hand our town’s legacy over to our children. Let history remember our beautiful town and all the accomplishments of the brave sons and daughters of Alberton. May God bless the prosperous future of Alberton!” – Soli Deo Gloria

As Chairperson of the Alberton Centenary Committee in 2004, I am humble to extend the following wish to all Albertonians on our 110 years anniversary: “May the great life we live in Alberton always remind us to walk tall, be proud of our community, reflect on our history and succeed in our future. God bless Alberton.”

Cllr Neil Diamond, Chairperson Alberton Centenary Committee

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