Thabazimbi (Northern Province)


Situated in the Northern Province (Transvaal prior to 1994), Thabazimbi lies 130 km north of Rustenburg and 200 km north west of Pretoria. The name Thabazimbi refers to a mountain, an iron ore mine and a mining township.

The town owes its existence to the discovery of iron ore at Vliegpoort in 1919. The government acquired the ore region in 1927 and ISCOR (Iron and Steel Industrial Corporation) began mining in 1931. ISCOR laid out a township for its employees on the farm Kwaggashoek and named it Thabazimbi.

The first Jewish resident was Mike Sholomir in 1920, joined by his brother in law, Louis Milner in 1924. The Milner family appears to have been central to many of the Jewish inhabitants of the town. Louis Milner was a general dealer, a garage owner and a farmer. Mike Sholomir was his partner; the Quait family came to the town to work for Louis Milner from 1940 until 1950; Leslie and Colin Gafinowitz were brothers who lived in the town, one worked for Louis Milner, the other was a farmer. Mr A Bernstein was a general dealer in 1934 and Dr Shlomo Livni, who lived there with his wife and family from 1938 till 1952, was a medical practitioner, a farmer and a property developer. There were never enough Jews for any institutions to be established. In 1972 a mohel was flown to Thabazimbi to perform the brit milah for Mervyn and Marion Milner’s son.

Anti Semitism was rife from 1939 to the early 1940’s. Thabazimbi Mine was a strong Nationalist constituency.

Dr Shlomo Livni was the district surgeon from 1938 1951. He established a township, Thabazimbi Ext 1, which was proclaimed in 1955. It was nicknamed Livnidorp. Dr Livni established Serenity Home for the Aged, for alcoholics and those suffering from neurological problems, in Johannesburg in 1962.