History of Mitchell’s Plain

Mitchells Plain was designed in the mid seventies as a model ‘dormitory suburb’ for Coloured people, on the Cape Flats about 20 miles from the city centre. The 56 original dwellings were built on a standard box-like design and laid out in neat rows with wide roads between them. The government liked to show international visitors their housing efforts in Mitchell’s Plain. By 1989, there were 33,000 dwellings in Mitchells Plain and development contintued rapidly in the 1990s.

Mitchell’s Plain History

Michell’s Plain was created in the 1970 to alleviate the housing shortages in the Coloured community of Cape Town. In 1975 it was estimated that there were well over 30,000 inadequately housed families in Cape Town. To wipe out this backlog and cope with the natural increase 40,000 houses would have to be provided by 1981, this would mean having to build an average of 7,000 houses per year for the next 7 years.
The need for an area like Mitchells Plain was envisaged way back in the 1960 the first proposal was tabled by the City Engineer in 1965. The green light to go ahead to develop Mitchells Plain was given to the Cape Town City Council in 1971.
What we the residents do not know about is the daunting and the magnitude of the task that it took to create this place we call home, a few interesting facts;
A large number of Grys, Rib Buck and tortoise were carefully captured and relocated to the Cape Point and Silvermine Reserves.
By 1980 14,5 million cubic metres of earth have been moved – this is enough to fill 80% of the Duncan Dock.
In the beginning of 1976, in two days of a south easterly gale wind, 130,000 of sand was lost off an area that had not been stabilized. This spread itself thinly over a the land from Mitchells Plain to Devils Peak and then out to sea
An extensive ground water resource underlies most of the 3,100 ha that is Mitchells Plain. Some of the exploratory boreholes are being used to recover water for horticultural purposes to supplement the main supply and boreholes were also sunk to specifically cater for the sports fields.
When building began, houses were built at a staggering rate of 33 units per working day or one house every 15 minutes. The Town Centre was developed on a budget of R25million and completed in 12 months.
Now this Mitchells Plain which was built on the idea of have a self-sufficient segregated dormitory Town far from the white areas and the City, is now home to over 400,000, with a spending power of over R100million per month is a major player in the Politics of the Western Cape, and should now become a major factor economically.
We have 9km of the False Bay Coast from Standfontein to Swartklip.

Some facilities in or near Mitchells plain include Wolfgat Nature Reserve, Strandfontein Pavillion, Mnandi Beach, Blue Waters, Monwabisi Beach, Westridge Gardens, Portlands Indoor centre etc

Mitchells Plain has a good infrastructure eg. Mitchell’s Plain Police Station Police SAPS, Strandfontein Police SAPS, Phillipi East police station, Mitchells Plain Post office, Department of Home Affairs, Department of Justice, Department of Labour, Strandfontein sewerage works, Mitchells plain Traffic Centre in Eastridge etc

Mitchells Plain also boast loads of medical facilities eg. Lentegeur Hospital, Mitchell’s Plain Medical Centre, Melomed Centre, Mitchells Plain Day Hospital, Mitchells Plain MOU, Mitchells Plain Promenade Medical Centre, Mitchells plain Town Centre Medical Centre, Lukhanyo clinic mitchells Plain, Eastridge clinic, Lentegeur Mitchells Plain Dental Clinic, Mitchells plain Community health clinic, Westridge community health clinic, Lentegeur Municipal Clinic, Rocklands municipal clinic, Strandfontein Community Health Centre, Tafelsig Mitchells plain clinic etc

Mitchells Plein Commerce & Retail is currently thriving with many shops, supermarkets, businesses, banks, convenience stores, petrol stations etc. Examples of these are Colorado Shopping Centre, Westgate Mall, Liberty Promenade Mall, 7/11, Multisave, Checkers Shoprite Lentegeur, Shoprite Rocklands, Shoprite Mitchells Plain, Pick n Pay Mitchells plain Promenade, Shell, Engen, Caltex, BP Westridge service station, FNB, Standard Bank , Nedbank , ABSA, Mitchells Plain Town Centre, Clicks, Woolworths, Total, Clocktower motors lentegeur, Woodlands Service centre, Cedars Service Centre, Seaview Service centre, Fruit and veg city mitchells plain, Steers westgate, Nandos mitchells plain, Debonaires Westgate Mall, McDonalds Mitchells plain, KFC Westridge, Steers promenade, Lentegeur Shopping centre, Rocklands Shopping Centre, Mitchells Plain Shopping Centre

Schools in Mitchells Plain are plentiful eg. Highlands Primary School, Northwood Primary School, West End Primary School, Woodlands High Secondary School, Meadowridge Primary School, Hyacinth PrimarySchool, Cornflower Primary School, Lantana Primary School, Lentegeur Secondary School, West End Primary School, Aloeweg Primary School, Aloe High SecondarySchool, Hazeldene Primary School, Portland Primary School, Duneside Primary School, Jamaica Primary School, Mondale Secondary School, Caravelle Primary School, Spine View Primary School, Eislebeen Rd Primary School, Seaview Primary School, Glendale High Secondary School, Dennegeur Ave Primary School, Strandfontein Primary School, Hillside Primary School, Strandfontein High Secondary School, Parkhurst Primary School, Ridgeville Primary School, Harvester Primary School, Beacon Training Centre, Westridge High Secondary School, Westville Primary school, Bergsig Lane Primary School, Princeton Secondary School

Examples of Sports facilities in Mitchells Plain and  sporting codes include Potlands Sports Complex, Westridge Swimming Baths, Rocklands sports centre, Stephen Regan Sports complex in Westridge, Tafelsig sports field.

Sporting codes most popular in Mitchells plain are Swimming, soccer, baseball, rugby, tennis, table tennis, chess etc

Below you will find documents explaining more in detail the History and the progress of Mitchell’s Plain over the years

Mitchell’s Plain narrative



The history and progress of Mitchell’s Plain comes from our Grandparents, ourselves, our children and their children. If you have any stories pictures you would like to add , please do so.


61 responses to “History of Mitchell’s Plain

  1. Paul

    October 5, 2018 at 11:00 PM

    Recently I started looking old photos of pupils who attended Westridge High in 1977. It’s more than forty years! I arrived a few weeks late because of some problems in Bonteheuwel where I lived for thirteen years. Bonteheuwel was magical for me, then. I lived in a small one room house with my parents and siblings opposite the Tavern and the Oasis Bioscope. Moving to Mitchells Plain was scary and exciting. The hill that runs along Dagbreek Street was our playground. In the afternoons it was common for children who loved to play there, to walk to the top of the hill with a piece of white plastic cut-off PVC down-pipe. It was easy to find building waste. This hill had a broad sandy path. It was quite hard to walk up. When you got to the top it was all smiles because you were going to sit on that pipe and slide down fast! You also had to steer carefully. The sand was loose and you came down quite fast. It was big fun with a few minor accidents. Girls also went up there. In those days we did not have a TV, but we soon got a black and white one because Dallas was the main programme on a Tuesday night at 20:30. I don’t think we read the time in 24-hour format, at least in our house. Everything was different and the whole area was very safe for one, two maybe three years. Myself and about six boys in our street joined Red Rovers Football Club. Writing these few lines really got me thinking. There are many stories and adventures that should be written for people to read. Some of the shops in Westridge in the early years showed imagination from the owners. Their business ideas were ahead of the time then in 1977-79 and they had to close shop. I remember Freddie’s electronics. That guy sold disco lights, records and he could repair radios and record players. His son and I went to the same primary school in Welome Estate. I have to stop now but the one big thing that I can remember is that there was no crime of child abuse / abduction and all these really terrible crimes of today. Children, girls and old people were rarely harmed. There were stabbings in Bonteheuwel but child crime was almost unheard of.

  2. Mary French

    January 18, 2018 at 4:04 AM

    My grandfather was Stephen Reagon who died in 1942. He was listed in South Africa’s “who’s who 1942” as: Town Councillor, City of Cape Town – elected for Ward 7 in September 1928; resigned November 1928 (Infamous Parade Incident); Ex-member of Provincial Council for Cape Flats – elected June 1930; Member of School Board for Cape Division; Senior Vice President and Treasurer “African Peoples’ Organisation”; and Chairman School Committee Livingstone High School. I have seen the name “Stephen Reagon” and also “Stephen Reagan” listed next to the Sports facilities in Mitchell’s Plain and was wondering whether these were named after my grandfather or another Stephen Reagon/Reagan perhaps. If the naming was in honour of my grandfather, I would like to know more about the reasons for this and any other information that anyone might have available. I will check posts from time to time and would be grateful for any information that is provided. I would also like to know what was the “Infamous Parade Incident”.

    • Sigi Howes

      September 15, 2018 at 7:37 PM

      Mary French, I was thrilled to hear about what you said about your grandfather. would love to speak to you about your grandfather. I think his name quite often gets misspelt, and I believe the hall and the sports complex are both named after him. Apparently he was also a cricket official. There was a school in Campground Rd, Newlands, called the Stephen Reagon Primary School. I have posted something on the Facebook site ‘Cape Town Down Memory Lane’ about it today – the very little I know.

  3. Caroline Smuts

    October 25, 2017 at 8:02 PM

    My mother got a council house in the 1990 single parent working and after 2 years felt sick did not purchase the house in Woodlands
    We the children on school the house was then returned in December of which she passed away March the next year.
    Does anyone know can we request a house as the children or whom can you get in contact with

  4. Jesse

    October 9, 2017 at 8:52 PM

    My great great uncle, uncle Mitchell was the founder of Mitchells plain my great aunt was his niece

  5. Anonymous

    August 22, 2017 at 8:11 PM

    I really liked the article on the ‘History of Mitchells Plain’, but I would really like to know who the author is. It does not particularly say who wrote it and when, and I need it for an assignment. Can someone please tell me?

  6. Mick-Shannon Lewis

    August 13, 2017 at 12:21 AM

    Wow. What an awesome recollection. We moved into Westridge (Elsenburg road) in April 76. The first suburb was Woodlands as we had to go to Dr.Johnas surgery (the only doctor then) in Woodlands. The schools had numbers then. Mitchells Plain Primary was number 1, Parkhurst Primary was number 2, Ridgeville was number 3. Yet the primary school in Woodlands was older than them it never had a number. We use to use the red Tramway busses to get in and out of Mitchells Plain. The first real shop was a Spar which eventually just became Mr. Adams shop in Dagbreek ave. No fire station just an open field and a “Visitors Buerow” where people came to buy houses in Westridge and Rocklands. This became a NBS bank in 78 and a community hall in 80. It’s still there today. I remember my Mom sending me, 6 years old, with her bank bookie to withdraw R15. Serious money then. We where scared of the Boetie (a black security guard or any black African man) as we where told that they would steal us. The apartheid gov has a bad back then. John Voster was the PM then. We had to pay 2-5c to watch TV at the Neighbour’s house. School was dismissed early on Wednesday 29 July 1981 due to Di & Charles wedding. The last showing of allegiance to our colonial past. TV started at 17:00 and the flaggie waaied at 21:00. Michells Plain delivered many famous and influential people way too much to mention here. People we see on tv, hear on radio and see in newspapers come from Mitchells Plain and give back to Michells Plain. We unfortunately don’t have enough accounts of the place that has shaped us. Thank you to all that has posted on this site and have inspired me to reminisce.

  7. John Sheldon

    July 28, 2017 at 9:00 AM

    Can anyone tell me what date Mitchell’s Plain police station opened in the Town Centre

  8. Jo Anne

    April 20, 2017 at 3:09 PM

    When was Portland primary established and who was the first principal

  9. Desery Roberts

    March 20, 2017 at 3:02 PM

    when was Northwood Primary School Mitchells Plain established and who was the first principal

    • Faz

      April 19, 2017 at 9:46 AM

      Northwood was established 1978…Reading through these comments took me down memory lane can’t remember much tho..i was about 4/5 when we moved too Mitchell’s avenue in 1985 first year at Northwood primary Mr latergan was there,my sub A teacher Mrs Johannes who up until today still teaches there.We stayed right across Woodlands high where we use too play in the school grounds on weekends i remember hw we use too walk too laws late at night bt in today’s life we have too think twice too walk late at night..

  10. Timothy IamTimmy Nelson

    March 14, 2017 at 7:59 AM

    When was Kapteinsklip train station established?

  11. rochelle

    February 28, 2017 at 10:24 AM

    can you please help me for my daughters assignment,, names of kids adults or just anyone who made it big that came from mitchell’s plain .. please

  12. anon

    February 24, 2017 at 12:59 AM

    we should take Mitchells Plain back from the criminal elements it has HUGE potential. if we could only bring back the wooden poles we had between our houses and in front of our garden in portlands.

  13. Craig Peters

    January 12, 2017 at 3:38 PM

    I think Cedar High Rocks. Yes, i am waiting for you negative critics

    • Donovan

      January 13, 2017 at 8:23 AM

      Craig I am proud of what Cedar High have accomplished. I passed the school the other day and they are truly doing a good job, Infact my niece was a student at Cedar High until 2016. So no nothing negative bru!!!

    • John Sheldon

      July 28, 2017 at 9:05 AM

      Can anyone tell me what date Mitchell’s Plain police station opened in the Town Centre

  14. Craig khumalo

    September 2, 2016 at 5:25 PM

    What does Mitchell’s plain mean

  15. ismaeel

    August 31, 2016 at 4:51 PM

    put the history of mitchells plain where the history of M.P is not by the hypotesis DN

  16. Marilyn Theresa Hartzenburg

    August 22, 2016 at 4:35 AM

    Wow i rember tht saterday 2 June 1979 when we moved In our house in Rocklands :* omw such a happy day,,,we build sand castles in our yard coz we were soo amazed wth the white sand lol,,,it was like we were on the beach :D,,,i was 11yrs old we move from manenberg to m/plain felt like the one of richess kids in my class still at Rio Grand Primary,,,we played lated outside coz by thn it was school holidays,,,the house opersite us were still all empty,,,i love the mobile shops tht use to come around and hooting yep lol the shop use to come to u,,,the joy dairy tht delivered the awesum fresh milk nd juices at ur door,,tht tym u cud leave ur milk bottle wth ur coupon outside nd they wil put ur milk thr nd nobody wud steal it,,,omw u cn never try tht nw lmk ;),,,i rember the monday morning we took the buss to school in manenberg it was stil dark outside,,,so whn we cme home the afternoon we gt lost hahahaaa coz all the houses nd street look the same lol,,,luck we saw my mom on the stoep,,,yes we also lost frnds on the sand dunes we almost lost our live also from playin on thr :(,,,we walk to town centre like nuthing in groups lol,,,omw the houses was soo beautfull,,,i loved it whn u move in nd thn the truck cme nd put in ur grass,,,we use keep compitition whos garden looks the prettiest,,,,soo i always hear my daddy nd the neighbour talks abt how good salt is fr ur grass,,,my father ws a fisherman soo his alot on sea,,,so i took all our house salt nd threw it on the grass lmimc,,my fathr cme hme nd asked wht happend to the lawn coz by nw its brown lol i jst kpt quiet,,,i misses the good old days :*,,,,wish m/plain cudve stayed like tht ne,,,

    • Anonymous

      February 9, 2017 at 1:32 PM

      Can i use your story for my child’s project?

  17. Anonymous

    May 24, 2016 at 9:11 PM

    I typed in the history of westridge and it showed mitchells plain

  18. Anonymous

    May 24, 2016 at 9:09 PM

    don’t forget about Mondale also because Mondale and Spine had the best matric pass rates in 2015

  19. Anonymous

    May 24, 2016 at 9:07 PM

    please add spine road high!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Anonymous

    May 24, 2016 at 9:06 PM

    why is spine road high not included in the schools of mitchells plain because it is one of the best high schools in mitchells plain

  21. Anonymous

    May 5, 2016 at 5:35 AM

    what happened to cascade primary?

  22. isabell

    March 16, 2016 at 6:05 PM

    It tells a lot about the place

  23. Sheraz Bhatti

    January 13, 2016 at 10:47 PM

    Hi.i want to find out more about Bangladeshi and Pakistani business communiy which is in all over Mitchells plain.Somebody want to help me?
    I will wait for the reply.
    kind regards

  24. Marshaline

    December 12, 2015 at 1:39 AM

    AZ Berman primary AZ Berman Secondary Littlewood Primary OVAl NOrth SEnIor Secondary MitchelLs Heights Primary Beacon ViEW primary Beacon View Secondary. IMperial Primar

  25. Anonymous

    September 27, 2015 at 9:25 AM

    If it was named after a farmer by the surname of Mitchell, the writing of it must be Mitchell’s Plain with an apostrophe.

  26. Anonymous

    September 18, 2015 at 3:11 AM

    Old Woodlands was the first suburb. Westridge was the next, Portlands, Rocklands,Lentegeur etc
    The suburbs came up so fast, I lost track after Lentegeur.
    We moved to Westridge in 1978. I remember there were so many houses being built at the time and as kids we played in them and had loads of fun.
    Tragically a few kids lost their lives playing on the sand dunes. You would not believe how high the dunes were so close to some of the houses being built. I remember our parents warning us to stay off the dunes, but we were kids and it was our playground then. We could spend the entire day exploring and the next. School holidays were great fun spent exploring.
    There was no Town Centre then. We walked and discovered Mitchell’s plain sometimes late into the summer nights.
    I remember when Town centre was built and after Sunday lunch we would go there to see how far the building was getting on and what shops were going to be built there. I remember when the station was built. Sunday afternoons we would buy weekly train tickets.
    I remember when the station became a buzz of activity with hawkers selling fruit and veg and the Muslim lady selling her ” warme salomies”
    I remember Stephen Reagan as the stadium we had our inter house and inter school athletic meets. Parkhurst primary and Ridgeville primary were rivals back then.
    I have fond memories growing up there, I could go on and on.
    I’d love to hear anyone else’s tales of growing up there.

    • Donovan

      October 20, 2016 at 12:52 PM

      Anonymous you have triggered my memory whilst reading your story.
      My name is Donovan and I remember the specific date that we moved from the then Tiervlei (now Ravensmead). It was a Saturday and the date was 08 December 1979, and I was a mere 9 year old boy. My grandmother had already moved into her house in Elm Close Westridge in 1977, and we as kids were so excited because we were going to move to granny. I remember how we use to walk over the dunes to Checkers where the Westridge Shopping Centre is opposite the civic centre. I remember the bus fare being 6 cents for kids and 12 cents for adults. We could walk late at night without anyone bothering you. There was no such thing as crime, or at least not what I can remember. I attended Harvester Primary School and completed my elementary studies in 1983. I remember my maths teacher Mrs Lewis, who was a bit tough but loved her students and helping them with complex maths tasks. Mr Hector that gave me a hiding for “bunking” school in standard 4 (grade 6). I never bunked school again. Mrs Du Plessis that gave me the nickname “kuifie”, because I looked like a real boertjie LOL! Auw how I miss those days, the playgrounds at Westridge Gardens, the swimming pool that was built at a later stage. I remember my standard 6 (grade 8) Science teacher, Mr Albert Fritz, always shouting at me for smelling like “entjies” after break, “Stevens stink alweer na rook”. Now he is Provincial Minister Of Social Development. Thank you to my friends, teachers and aquintances, but mostly thank you to Mitchells Plain for being part of my life, for paving the way for me during my education and working career. Thank you Mitchells Plain my beloved hometown, it wasn’t always easy but it was worth it. I am who I am today because of Mitchells Plain, successful in my career, and by the grace of God.

      God bless Mitchells Plain and restore her to how she use to be……safe!

      • Anonymous

        October 22, 2016 at 1:13 PM

        Donovan, how lovely to hear your story growing up. I am smiling as I recall those images you depict. Goeie dae!
        I went back earlier this year to see a dentist I used to visit as a child. He is still practicing!!
        So much had changed though. People’s homes have become small business’s on Park Avenue.
        The streets we played in are looking sad and neglected. It made me abit sad. But that’s life moving on. This will be someone else’s memories one day.

        Thankfully we have the memories of “Big Window” the house shop on Park Avenue. The matinee ‘bioscope’ shows on Saturdays at Westridge shopping centre. All those karate flicks!! And Bud Spencer movies ….lol. Double feature!!
        The quiet Sunday mornings to church and Marcy’s bakery for fresh cream cakes. Just a fantastic time!
        As you said, we are who we are because of Mitchell’s Plain.

        So very happy you shared that time with us.
        Remember those school sports days…. 🎼 here we are, here we are, here we are again oooh!!
        Anonymous ” Sept 18, 2015″

  27. inga

    August 23, 2015 at 6:59 PM

    I’m very sad,because of the schools,use never mentioned Alpine Primary and Oval North high school of excellence and I mean its my primary school and high school……*aint cool*but anyway its cool,we are the best and use 4get to put that schools there….

    • anonymous

      October 21, 2015 at 3:34 PM

      and nobody mentioned rocklands high #sad face

  28. Anonymous

    June 2, 2015 at 1:57 PM

    How old is northwood primary school? please help!!

  29. Anonymous

    March 16, 2015 at 7:32 AM

    Who is Mitchells Plain named after? And what buildings was demolished when they rebuild Town Centre? Please HELP!

    • anonymous

      October 21, 2015 at 3:32 PM

      There were no buildings demolished

      • Mick-Shannon Lewis

        August 13, 2017 at 12:31 AM

        The only buildings that was demolished was the farmers house and kraal which was where the Gym is today. We played there. It’s also where Friends (Rory & Tania) died playing on the sand dunes during this demolition as correctly posted previously.

  30. Anonymous

    December 5, 2014 at 12:20 AM

    This article is a good summary but it needs spelling and grammar check…please

  31. Ron Viney

    October 28, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    Where does the name ‘Mitchells Plain” come from?

    • Anonymous

      December 19, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      I heard it was mostly owned by a farmer and when the govt bought the land they named it after the previous land owner.

  32. Chris

    October 9, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    man o man i remember going to School in the afternoon since there was a shortage of school in Rocklands so they developed morning and afternoon shift awesome experience.

  33. Kyle

    September 21, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    Can anyone please tell me who is the author of the article on the History of Mitchells-Plain?

  34. bradley

    September 10, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    what does the name Mitchell’s Plain mean.

    • Anonymous

      December 5, 2014 at 12:18 AM

      I was told as a child that the land was a farm owned by Mr. Mitchell…a plain is a large flat area of land….

  35. Anonymous

    August 23, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    The police station, when was it established and its history please.

  36. peter marais

    November 19, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Brilliantly summarised. thanks. Lest we forget.

  37. Anonymous

    March 13, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    history of hyacinth primary school

  38. Mimi

    May 24, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    Hi I am looking for the accommodation for weekend for 15 women church confress pls self catering

  39. faiez

    February 8, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    can anyone plse tell me who is stephen reagan ( sports complex )

    cricket is also been played in mitchells plain since 1976…… ( mitchell`s plain cricket club formerly westridge cricket club )

  40. Marlon Masters

    December 25, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    Which is the first suburb in Mitchells Plein

    • Moses Smith

      April 29, 2012 at 11:32 AM

      The 1st suburb was woodlands thats where the 1st residence moved in (1976)

      • Anonymous

        December 19, 2014 at 10:19 PM

        Wasn’t it Westridge?

      • Anonymous

        August 19, 2015 at 9:10 PM

        Old or new? Cause my wen my ex gf moved to new lentegeur it only had a few house next to the railway track which ran up to kapteinsklip station. Lentegeur an mplain stations didn’t exist.


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