Mining and property magnate, knighted for his pioneering role in the development of Johannesburg.
Lives of Courage
Sir Julius Gottlieb Ferdinand Jeppe was born in Rostock, Mecklenburg- Schwerin, Germany in July 1859. Jeppe and his family immigrated to South Africa in 1870, and settled in Pretoria.
Jeppe began his career as a mining and property magnate as a clerk in the firm of Schiffman and Company in Pretoria, and quickly rose to a managerial position. However, with the discovery of gold in the nearby Witwatersrand, he and his elder bother, Carl Jeppe, devoted their time to prospecting and developing land in the Johannesburg area.
The Jeppe's originally controlled a syndicate that owned land called Randjeslaagte, which when deemed unfit for mining, later became Jeppestown and Fordsburg under Jeppe's chairmanship.
In 1905, Jeppe entered into a partnership with Sir Abe Bailey, and merged his company with the Witwatersrand Township Estate and Finance Corporation. In 1919, this company became known as the South African Townships, Mining and Finance Corporation, with Jeppe as the chairman and managing director up until his death.
In 1891, Jeppe married Grace Cowen, and together they had five children. Jeppe was also highly involved in the Johannesburg town council from 1889, and served on various executive boards, including the Chamber of Mines and the Rand Water Board.
For his pioneering role in the development of Johannesburg he was knighted in 1922.
Sir Julius Jeppe passed away in London on 2 September 1929. A main suburban street in Pretoria and Jeppe Boys High School in Johannesburg are named after him.
*Other sources state 1 September 1929 as his date of death.
• Wallis, F. (2000) Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau