Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tram Tuesday - Johannesburg, South Africa

This card does not show us the ideal close-up view of the tram, but it's interesting to me because it is an open-air horse-drawn tram.

The card was sent in 1906, the very year the system was converted to electricity. Unlike this rather primitive tram, some of the electric ones were colorful double-deck models, but there were also more upscale and enclosed horse-drawn trams. If you look closely, you can see a few nicely-dressed ladies with hats sitting towards the front of the tram, but it's impossible to tell if they're black or white. Was this a lower-class tram for blacks? Early on, trams in South Africa were racially segregated along with most other facilities and services.

Here's a picture I took at a performance in South Africa during the days of Apartheid.

The sender of this card (N. Claase) saved postage by sending this card without a message, thus qualifying as printed matter.


  1. Not much to that tram, looks like the horses may have just accidentally dragged a park bench and canopy down the street... The segregation pic is fairly stunning- hard to believe this was not so long ago- I'm guessing the quality of the seats, services, etc were quite different on either side of the line too.

  2. This is weird. I just checked: 20 miles south of Ermelo there is a town called Amersfoort located in South-Africa. In the Netherlands, Amersfoort is also located 20 miles south(west) of Ermelo.

  3. Rob, that is truly remarkable. I bet the landscape in the two Ermelos is not very similar though.



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