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University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Knockando History


Knockando Halls of Residence - History

On the 21st of February 1921, the first home of Knockando opened its doors to a compliment of 24 students. Knockando (I) was situated at 28 Girton Road, Parktown. The 1st dean of this prestigious residence was W.F. Grant, Vice Principal of the Johannesburg College of Education (now Wits Education Campus) and the first Chairman was H.F. Potter.


Knockando I:
28 Girton Road Parktown

The name Knockando comes from the Gaelic word Knockan-dhu which means 'Black Mountain'. This name was given to the residence by the then Acting Director of Education, Mr. W. Clarke, who purchased the building at 28 Girton Road, Parktown to serve as Knockando's 1st home.


In the early years women were not allowed in Knockando, but fortunately in 1939 the ban on women visiting the residence was lifted. They could then be entertained in the hall or lounge. To Knockandians and for some 'unknown' reason, the female residence, which was then simply called "Women's Res" and later (1955) renamed Medhurst, was referred to as "Hell on the Hill". Furthermore amongst Knockandians anyone who had fallen in love with one of the girls from Medhurst was said to be suffering from "Hoofd Pain". This was because the residence was located in Hoofd Street, Braamfontein.


Knockando's Second Home (Knock II): 1953,was located in Hoofd Street. It is interesting to note that at this point in time the residence accommodated women as well due to a shortage of accommodation within the College. It's also intresting to note that in the minutes of House meetings from March 1953 until May 1955 no reference was ever made to the presence of women in the building! The minutes of 13th of May 1958 refer to the departure of Knockando's 'visitors' to the Girton Road residence (Knock I).



Knockando II: Hoofd Street

In the 1970's, the residence also accommodated female students, which were referred to as Knockandiannas. Furthermore, University (WITS) students were subsequently allowed to reside at Knockando due to the University residences being full to capacity.


Knockando went through a lot of changes - political, social, economic, academic, etc. - from the 80's until today. It was during this period that Knockando started taking in Black African students (1990's) and later also became part of the University of the Witwatersrand (2000's).



Knockando's Third Home

(Knock III): 1960, Empire Road.

Knockando's Final Home
(Knock IV): 1967, 21 Rockridge Road, Parktown.

More History at Knockando