is a modern town created in 1977. Before the free elections were held in South Africa and the new political boundaries came into effect,
was in the old Western Transvaal and Mmabatho was the capital of the homeland known as Bophuthatswana and was the site of several government buildings. When the North West Province was created, it was decided to keep Mmabatho on as the regional capital.
However, there has been a gradual shift of power back to the principal town in the region,
Dusty open ground between isolated buildings waits for the city to grow around it, and the poverty of the former homeland of Bophuthatswana remains evident.
The whole town is dominated by a sports stadium of Olympic proportions that seats 70,000, which is i
is that of being home to a state-of-the-art recording studio where the soundtrack to
But the most likely reason for visiting here is to have a quick look around the historic town of Mafikeng, another hot and dusty commercial centre on the Highveld, but one with an interesting early history, and plenty of buildings that help tell its story. Having said that, neither town warrant a specific journey, and they act mainly as stop-off points to the Ramatlabama border of Botswana, 25 km away.
Getting to Mafikeng and Mmabatho
History of Mafikeng and Mmabatho
The name of
erritory became known as British Bechuanaland, with Mafikeng as the centre for the local farmers, traders and hunters. At the time this was still very much frontier territory, occupied by a rough crowd and policed by the tough Bechuanaland Border Police.
force of Rhodesian troops from the north and Imperial troops from the south.
At the time, the siege captured the imagination of the British public in England – the Anglo-Boer War was the first war to be reported in such detail, with pictures, cartoons and newspaper articles. It was during the siege that the British commander, Colonel RSS Baden-Powell, made his name and conceived the idea for the Boy Scout movement .
The Boer commander,
General Cronje believed that he was pinning down a large British force planned for the invasion of the Western Transvaal. Mafeking was, in fact, an insignificant
unusual set-up where the government for one state, Bechuanaland, was in fact located in a foreign country, South Africa.
In 1965 the government moved to Gaborone and on
Today the town is the centre for the local cattle industry. Although the relics from the Boer
Sights in Mafikeng and Mmabatho
is housed in the old town hall built in 1902, this has
exhibits which trace the history of the region along with the culture of the indigenous peoples.
contains the graves of British servicemen, the Town Guard and South African troops. The most prominent grave is that of Andrew Beauchamp- Proctor, South Africa’s most highly decorated First World War airman.
is the site of a fort on the southern banks of the Molopo River built during a conflict between the Goshen Republic and the Barolong Boo Tshidi. The fort has been restored along with some cannon and guns and there are panoramic views out over Mafikeng.
, lies at the edge of town, and the entrance is on Jacaranda Drive. The reserve, covering 4600 ha of open Kalahari grassland and acacia thorn scrub,