The History of the Kolping Family in Johannesburg
Since the founding of the Kolping Family Johannesburg, in 1952 which of course was the first family for the whole of Africa, there has been the desire to own property for a Kolping House, to provide a home for the Family and for the activities of Kolping, as Family life is always linked to a Kolping Home.
When Father Bruensing “purchased” one floor of the Switzerland Insurance building in Loveday Street, Johannesburg Central, in 1960 with the help of GSCC and KAS (Germany), Kolping Johannesburg got its first official home.
But this did not weaken the desire to own property and in 1965 Kolping purchased a six acre plot in Sunninghill park which was named Kolping Gardens on which a recreation hall was built in the same year.
In 1967 a swimming pool was built using donations by various Kolping members.
Because of difficulties with the neighbours and a forced change in municipal control in the area, it was decided to sell Kolping Gardens in 1970.
When in 1971 GSCC bought a property in Bushhill for a church and community centre, Kolping offered the proceeds of the sale of Kolping Gardens as an investment in that new centre.
Kolping Gardens was finally sold in 1974, however they were forced to change plans and continued to look for a Kolping House and because of that, a community centre, St Boniface, was eventually only opened in 1979.
In 1974 Kolping purchased O'Reilly Court,, a building of flats on top of Berea Hill, again with the help of GSCC. After extensive alterations it was opened in 1975 as Kolping House, providing accommodation for guests as well as new immigrants. It included a chapel as a place of worship.
In September 1993, 18 years later, economic circumstances and the ever-evolving population mix in Hillbrow and Berea, forced Kolping to sell O’Reilly Court. With the proceeds of that sale the present complex of the Kolping House at No 33, 5th Street, Sonneglans in Randburg was bought.
Today Kolping House is a “home” many members who often find comfort in sharing a cup of coffee when times are sometimes too hard to handle on their own.It offers training, provides a venue for functions and outside service providers and still to true Kolping ethos, a room for Kolping members who are travelling through.