According to the General Plan of Heidelberg dated 1910, the first black township was located where the industrial area is today next to the Balfour/Standerton road. The only current reminder of its existence is the cemetery that remained.It was known as Magogweni or the Old Skom. It was in a marshy area and houses were mostly corrugated iron with flat roofs.
During the struggle Heidelberg’s seat elect became the premier of South Africa (1958 – 1966). Apartheids rules and segregation policies were enforced. One of the decisions was to relocate the black township situated at the Old Skom. They identified an area where black people usually gathered on 16 December. It was situated some 5km from Heidelberg next to the Blesbok Spruit. A place of refuge also known as Round 14. From the start there was resistance against this move. Luckily Heidelberg had a peace maker in Justus Tshungu, who was appointed Secretary of the Advisory Committee on the relocation. He took the lead by relocating his family first to the new location. With the aid of the Administrator, Jordaan, he was relocated to a new house on the corner of Heidelberg road and Blesbok Streets. The resistance increased as he was seen as a “sell out”. He remarked: “It was difficult times as you did not know what lurked in the shadows’.
Blacks have been in this area long before the Voortrekkers. The (Mo)fokengs and (Mo)koenas settled in this area before Jan van Riebeeck ever reached the Cape of Good Hope. Allegedly a feud started between the Fokengs and Koenas on the inauguration of a new chief. His mother was a San (Bushman) and they refused to accept his authority over them. It is allegedly these protestors who moved to the Heidelberg district and settled here. Some would move further north and later settled inland as the well-known Bafokeng and the Bakwena tribes.
In KwaZulu-Natal, Shaka Zulu (“Shaka of the heaven”) ruled with an iron fist. Mzilikazi (Silkaats) and especially their Khumalo clan decided to move away North and was allegedly the first Zulus to have settled here. This brought the Sotho and Zulu groups in conflict. The township was mostly divided between Sothos and Zulus. On relocation the different groups decided to occupy opposite sides of the big road in the new location.
The relocation took place during late 1950’s with Ratanda celebrating their heritage status in 2018. Strategically located close to Johannesburg made Heidelberg a popular destination. According to the 1880 blue book statistics, at the time Heidelberg was the capital of the ZAR, 1 500 or 25% residents of a total of 6 000 were black. In the Lesedi census of 2016 it increased to 88 000 or 76 % out of a total population of 115 000. During the struggle period and and relocation of the first location, they were still divided with politics being forced upon them. Over the years they united themselves under the banner of their new location, Ratanda.