West Park Cemetery lies to the north of Melville Koppies, bordered by Montgomery Park, Sophiatown and Emmarentia. It is a sprawling inter-denominational designated cemetery with separate Christian, Chinese, Jewish, Muslim and South African Defence Force burial areas. Many ornate gravestones and mausoleums can be found throughout the park.
Many South Africans of historical importance are buried in Westpark, including struggle veterans Alfred Nzo, Joe Modise as well as child Aids activist, Nkosi Johnson. There is also a memorial to Christiaan Frederick Beyers Naudé that has been declared a National Heritage Site.
Opened in 1942, it was originally part of the farm Watervalwas which was purchased in 1887 by two Geldenhuys brothers in the hope of finding gold. While they did not find gold, Louw Geldenhuys employed Boer War veterans to build the Emmarentia Dam and leased smallholdings with fruit trees.
In 1993, 13 hectares were donated to the city for public recreation and, eventually with the other sections, became the Johannesburg Botanic Gardens, Marks Parks Sports Club and the West Park Cemetery.
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