Then and now: the evolution of South African cities

Posted by Ondela Mlandu on 12 November 2018

South Africa has a colourful history. Some cities in the country have gone from being one-horse shanty towns to bustling metropoles in little more than a century. The invention of the camera in the mid-1800s has allowed for these changes to be documented photographically. The following images show a glimpse of the evolution of South African cities over the years.

1. Johannesburg

The Market Theatre in Joburg as it was. Image from the Market Theatre

The Market Theatre currently. Image from the Market Theatre


2. Cape Town

An historic image of the Woodstock Bathing Pavillion on Marine Drive that stood alongside the beach in Milnerton. Image by Etienne du Plessis

Photo by Rachel Robinson

Albert Road, Woodstock. Image by Rachel Robinson

The original grain silo in what is now known as the Silo District near the V&A Waterfront. Image by Etienne du Plessis

The modern Silo Hotel, built in a portion of the grain silo. Image from Afristay


3. East London

Oxford Street, East London in days past. Image from East London of Old

East London’s Oxford Street at present. Image from Tripadvisor

An old photograph of the Buffalo Bridge in East London. Image from East London of Old

East London’s Buffalo River in modern times. Image from Cruise Mapper

4. Durban

An historic image of Durban North Beach. Image from Durban Down Memory Line

A modern image of stand up paddlers heading out to the sea, with the profile of Durban city in the background. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe

5. Bloemfontein

The Old President Museum in Bloemfontein way back when. Image from Travel Ground

6. Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth Town Hall in bygone days. Image from National Archives and Records Services

The Port Elizabeth City Hall now. Image from NMBT

7. Pretoria

The old Standard Bank building in Pretoria. Image from Standard Bank

The Standard Bank Building in 2018. Image from Flickr

Church Square in Pretoria in days past by Views from Above archives



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