With the assistance of the manufactures, and after prolonged negotiation, the Festival committee succeeded in inducing the City Council of Hamburg to sell the instrument which had been in use in that city since 1930, under conditions that the projector would be fully modernised in the Zeiss factory at Oberkochen, and that a new instrument would in due course be build for Hamburg.

The Hamburg projector was therefore immediately dismantled and moved to Oberkochen for complete overhaul and, in time, was completely rebuilt, while all the additional apparatus and improvements developed since it was originally built were added.  The result was an instrument as modern and complete as any in the world.

In the meantime, however, the responsibilities of the Festival Committee had been taken over by the Johannesburg City Council who, after further negotiations, finally sold the projector to the University of the Witwatersrand for use in the formal instruction of students and as a public amenity for the citizens of Johannesburg and of South Africa in general.  Plans for the building were drawn in 1958, and building commenced in 1959.

Finally the stage had now been reached when the instrument had been installed and adjusted by a team of Zeiss technicians, and the building was on the point of final completion.  On 12 October 1960 the first full-sized planetarium in Africa, and the second in the Southern Hemisphere, opened its doors to the public.


GPS: 26°11’18.7″S; 28°01’41.1″E

Map Wits surroundings
Map East Campus

From Pretoria

    * Take the Ben Schoeman highway (M1) to Johannesburg;
    * Take the Empire Road off-ramp;
    * at the T-junction at the end of the off-ramp, turn right into Empire road;
    * move to the left-hand lane;
    * just before the traffic lights, take the slip-road to the left into Yale Road;
    * you will pass through WITS Traffic Control – tell them you are going to the Planetarium;
    * Drive past the Planetarium on your left, and turn left at the circle onto East Campus;
    * Take the next turn left and proceed down to the Planetarium.

From the South

    * Take the M1 to Johannesburg;
    * take the Smit Street off-ramp;
    * turn left into Smit Street;
    * take the first left into Eendracht Street;
    * drive up to the first set of traffic lights and turn left into De Korte Street;
    * go to the right-hand lane;
    * pass straight through the traffic lights into Yale Road;
    * at WITS Traffic Control tell them that you are going to the Planetarium;
    * pass through the Amic Deck traffic lights;
    * turn right onto East Campus at the circle;
    * take the first left turn, which will take you down to the Planetarium.