ZOCCOLA, Michele Angelo
Michele was an Italian who arrived in South Africa in 1888. He was born in 1859 in Montecastello, Alessandria, Piemonte, Italy. He was the son of Italians Guiseppe Antonio and Mar Gay (Gaj). Zoccola means “street wise person”.
He arrived in South Africa, after working in England. He first worked in Cape Town, then Kimberley and later moved to Johannesburg. Michele being an entrepreneur of nature quickly excelled in the business world. His main achievements were as follows:
•Owner of the Grand National Hotel in Johannesburg. He erected it in 1890.
•He purchased Bergvlei Estate and developed part thereof in a residential suburb, calling it Lombardy. (Named after the northern region of Italy). Michele later sold part thereof for a race track development. This suburb still exist today in Johannesburg
•He built the Olympia Bridge in Johannesburg, named it after his daughter.
•He planted the first vineyards in Transvaal and produced wine.
•Marble importer (from Italy)
•In 1936 he became a municipal councillor.
Michele married Mary Ann WARREN, in London, England. Mary was born in 1850 in the Isle of Wight. She was the daughter of George and Ada (Née WELSH)
The couple had the following children:
Michele and his wife Mary died in Johannesburg on 14 November 1938 and 16 October 1934 respectively. Michele an Mary Ann was buried in the Brixton Cemetery in Johannesburg.
• National Archives
• Documents regarding Italians in South Africa