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Benoni’s inauspicious beginnings began in 1881 when then surveyor-general of the Transvaal Republic Johan Rissik found it difficult to assign title deeds to all unclaimed state property, called "Uitvalgrond" or land that fell out of already claimed properties. He named a piece of land in the area Government Farm Benoni after the Hebrew name (meaning "son of my sorrow"), given by Rachel to her son after she suffered a very difficult birthing. This is according to the biblical Book of Genesis. Rachel unfortunately died after giving birth to Benoni but his father, Jacob, fortunately renamed him Benjamin) or ‘Son-who-will-be-fortunate’ or, in some transcripts “Son-of-my-right-hand”. Rissiks' naming was apparently due to the fact that he had difficulties in establishing the exact boundaries of the surrounding and already existing Rietfontein, Modderfontein, Kleinfontein and Brakpan farms and considered the formal demarcation to have been as commensurately sorrowful as that of the birth of Rachel's son and accordingly named the unclaimed land Benoni.