Areas and Places

Rivonia: it's come a long way since 1963

One of the most significant events in our country’s history, the Rivonia Treason Trial, bears the name of the area where ANC freedom fighters like Ahmed Kathrada and Walter Sisulu were captured by police on 11 July 1963. The 28-acre property where these apartheid activists were arrested, Liliesleaf, was situated just off Rietfontein Road in Rivonia, and served as a hideout for those ANC members who were forced to go underground.

Today Liliesleaf is an award-winning heritage site in Rivonia where visitors can experience an important leg of South Africa’s journey to democracy. However, the Rivonia of the early 1960s was very different from the suburb which today borders on Sandton, the richest square mile in Africa. Five decades ago, Sandton itself did not even exist. Rivonia, though, was very much on the map, a peri-rural village between Pretoria and Johannesburg.

The Rivonia of the twenty-first century, located between the Sandspruit and the Braamfontein Spruit, has maintained that village atmosphere of its humble beginnings. “Rivonia is very different to other suburbs like Morningside and Parkmore which are on the fringe of Sandton,” says Rupert Finnemore, joint area manager of Pam Golding Properties (PGP) Hyde Park. “Rivonia has its own small CBD, which forms a kind of village square where people can walk from shop to shop or relax at one of the many sidewalk restaurants. It has a unique charm which has not been lost with the development of the area.”

The properties that can be found in Rivonia vary from large stately homes on one- or two-acre stands to smaller, more modern apartments of 450 sqm. The larger stands often boast homes which are a reminder of Rivonia’s origins, such as quaint farm houses or Victorian-style residences. Many of these stands have been developed into cluster houses in recent years; an accommodation option which is proving very popular in the area.

“Prices for homes begin at R2.5 million, and we regularly achieve over R6 million,” notes Jonathan Davies, joint area manager of Pam Golding Properties (PGP) Hyde Park. “Currently we have two properties available around the R12 million mark. The properties in Rivonia are very well priced for the convenience of the location and everything else the area offers. Thus demand is high and properties are snapped up quickly when they go on the market.”

One of the impressive properties in Rivonia which Pam Golding Properties currently has on its books is an expansive executive home with a Balinese ambience, priced at R12 million. The downstairs open plan living areas are spacious and light and feature fold-out doors which lead onto an extensive covered patio and rim-flow pool. The carefully tended garden meanders down to the tranquil riverside, which forms part of the one-acre property. This Rivonia home also boasts a gourmet eat-in kitchen for intimate family meals, a lounge and a fitted study, along with an elegant dining room, pub and large wine cellar, ideal for impressing guests.

Upstairs, each of the three bedrooms are en suite, with the main bathroom featuring a spa bath, steam shower and sauna, which are guaranteed to relax aching muscles after a long day at work. A spacious library or study also occupies the second floor and a large family room with an infinity fireplace opens onto a terrace with resplendent views of the river. The finishes throughout the home are pristine, and no expense has been spared to make this property into the perfect residence where you want for nothing.

Another Rivonia property that is currently on the market with Pam Golding Properties is a four-bedroomed house priced at R3.495 million. This charming home on a half-acre stand boasts three roomy reception areas which open onto a large patio and well-established garden with swimming pool. A wood and granite kitchen with breakfast nook is guaranteed to delight any foodie and the fireplace in the family room completes the picture.

The two ground-level bedrooms and two bathrooms, one en-suite, are generously proportioned. Upstairs, the expansive lounge, two spacious bedrooms and a bathroom are ideal if the teenagers in the family want to have their own space. The residence has been immaculately kept and is guaranteed to make an impression on the most discerning buyer.

“Properties in Rivonia certainly suit a diverse range of tastes and pockets, from imposing heritage houses to sumptuously contemporary clusters. It is an area that proves popular with young and old alike, appealing to those who are looking for the character of old Johannesburg juxtaposed with the conveniences of modern-day Sandton,” concludes Davies.

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