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Mangaung Metro Municipality



Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality is a Category A municipality. It is situated in the heart-land of the Free State Province. The Free State Province is bordered by the Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal and the North West Provinces as well as by the neighbouring country of Lesotho. Mangaung, meaning ‘Place of the Cheetahs’, accentuates the vibrant, dynamic and energetic character of the tourism industry in the ‘At the Heart of it All’.

The economy is strongly driven by the government sector, which has seen the fastest growth in the last five years as a result of increased government programmes in livelihoods improvement interventions. The finance sector is the second-fastest growing sector due to very active estate and construction activities.

Main Economic Sectors: Community services (35.3%), finance (26.8%), trade (16%), transport (11.8%), manufacturing (3.5%)


Indians were prohibited by an 1891 statute from living in the Orange Free State then an independent Boer Republic and this led to the almost total absence of Indians from the area, a situation that persisted into the apartheid era.

South African racial map, 1979, the orange color show where people of Indian origin were more prevalent. In other areas, such as those marked coloured they were either a minority or not allowed to enter under apartheid laws.

Discriminated against by apartheid legislation, such as the Group Area act applied in 1950, Indians were forcibly moved into Indian townships and had their movements restricted. They were not allowed to reside in the Orange Free State Province and needed special permission to enter the province. They were also as a matter of state policy, given an inferior education compared to white South Africans. The Asiatic Land Tenure and the Indian Representative Act of 1946 were repealed.

In 1961, Indians were officially recognised as permanent part of the South African population. The Department of Indian Affairs was established with a white minister in charge. In 1968, the South African Indian Council came into being, serving as a link between the government and the Indian people.




Bloemfontein, Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu.



Bloemfontein is said to have been the property of an old Dutch farmer called Rooi Johan Dolf Brits. Before the arrival of the British army major Henry Douglas Warden, there were old Trekboers dwelling houses in the vicinity although promiscuously scattered around without any attempt whatever at regularity of shape. It is believed that infront of Brits’ house, his wife planted a few flowers, a neighbour called Griesel when visiting them suggested that they should name the place Bloemfontein meaning a ‘fountain of flowers. Major Warden officially adopted the name Bloemfontein in 1846. He founded the place as an outpost of the Transoranje region. Besides the Trekboer occupation of the area, other cultural groups like the Griquas and the Basotho had occupied it.

The city of Bloemfontein is part of the Mangaung Municipality which also includes the towns of Botshabelo and Thaba ‘Nchu, and a rural area. It covers 6 300km2 with a population of just under a million people. The small piece of African Highveld, originally inhabited by Stone Age people was called Mangaung, or ‘place of leopards’ by its Basotho inhabitants, and is today the capital of the Free State, the Judicial capital of South Africa (since 1910). The 4000 rose bushes planted in the magnificent Kings Park have led Bloemfontein to be called the ‘City of Roses’, and the grandiose sandstone buildings which line President Brand Street form a celebration of architecture, a boardwalk of history. The first European to settle here was the farmer Johannes Brits, in 1840. He found conditions favourable around the natural spring that eventually gave the city its name. His farm, bought by Major Warden in 1846, because a highly-prized area of land among missionaries, hunters, Voortrekkers and settlers on these otherwise dry plains. Pioneers in the area were livid at the occupation of the Orange River Sovereignly by Warden and another Englishman, Sir Harry Smith, and ordered them back to the Cape Colony.


The British returned, however, and controlled the Sovereignty until 1854, during which time the newly-named Bloemfontein had grown into a small town. After suffering losses to Moshoeshoe, the Basotho chief, and a change in imperial policy, the British decided to return the Free State to the Boers. A well-spring in the aridity of the lowlands, Bloemfontein began as a typical frontier town, a land of wildebeest and blesbok, a former rest-stop of wagons. This rich history which spans more than 150 years is reflected in the architecture and places of interest that can be found here. These sites are complemented by a landscape characterized by rolling plains and isolated hills. Today it is a modern city with relatively low risks crime areas and is renowned for its warm hospitality, unpretentious people and less destination for those who do not only want to explore a new environment, but also desire to rediscover themselves in the process.



Botshabelo, is situated 45km from Bloemfontein on the N8, is the largest township settlement in the Free State and the second largest, after Soweto, South Africa. Botshabelo, meaning “a place of refuge”, is a large black settlement set up by the then apartheid government 45 km east of Bloemfontein, Free State province, South Africa. As many people moved away from the farms in the Free State, they looked for places to stay in the region of Thaba Nchu, another homeland under the old Bophutatswana government.

The policy governing Bophutatswana at the time clearly stated that Bophutatswana belongs to those who are of Tswana tribe. As a result, all other tribes, mainly Southern Sotho and Xhosa, were put at a squatter camp named “Kromdraai”. Kromdraai was initiated by a man who was only referred to as “Khoza”. He was selling a stand for only 50 cents around the year of 1976.

Later on the government of Bophutatswana started to strongly condemn the development of that area and worked hard through their police force during the day and night, striving to dispatch everybody living in the region and who is not a Tswana. As the pressure mounted for the people of Kromdraai, Khoza fled and he was no longer to be seen anywhere.

In 1979, the then Prime Minister of QwaQwa, Kenneth Mopeli together with the apartheid government found a place for all the people of Kromdraai at a farm called Onverwacht. All the people who were not Tswana started to move to Onverwacht for free, and later on when they started to settle in the area paid ZAR80 for a stand. Late in 1980 to early 1981 the name Onverwacht started to disappear and people started to call their place by the name of Botshabelo, this name given by Julius Nkoko.


The unrestricted plains and rugged splendour east of Bloemfontein have led this area to become known as ‘Big Sky Country’. In the heart of Thaba ‘Nchu (Sesotho name for ‘Black Mountain’). The strong hold of the Barolong against the Matebele before becoming a bone of contention given its situation on a trade route to the Eastern Cape Colony. Established in 1873, it is now the spiritual homeland of the Tswana people. Moroka II, chief of the Boo-Seleka section of the Barolong tribe, migrated here in 1833. A decade earlier his clan was driven from their land of origin, over the Vaal, by Mzilikazi, and sojourned at Motlhanapitse, in what is now the western Free State. Upon reaching an agreement with king Moshoeshoe I, they settled at Thaba ‘Nchu, where their numbers were augmented by other Barolong scattered by Mzilikazi.[4]

These Batswana people accepted the Voortrekkers as allies, as a consequence of the ongoing difaqane (tribal wars). The first Voortrekkers to stay here on their northward journeys were Louis Tregardt and Hans van Rensburg. Thaba ‘Nchu subsequently became a safe meeting place for leaders such as Hendrik Potgieter, Piet Uys and Gerrit Maritz.

After Potgieter’s trek was attacked and plundered at Vegkop, Moroka II swiftly assisted him with draught oxen and a liberal provision of supplies. The Boer party was also assisted in returning to a refugee camp at Thaba ‘Nchu, named “Moroka’s Hoek”. The Boer leader held a war council with the Barolong chiefs, Moroka and Tauana, where a Boer-Barolong-Griqua allegiance was formed, which shortly routed Mzilikazi, who then founded the kingdom of Matabeleland.

Thaba ‘Nchu was considered a friendly native state of the boer-governed Orange Free State, established in 1854. It however became an insular territory during the Basotho Wars, during which the Basotho were expelled from its vicinity.

In the apartheid era it formed part of the area set aside for the bantustan of Bophuthatswana, nominally ruled by the then President Lucas Mangope. It was then a trading centre. Following the establishment of a hotel and casino by Sun International during that time it has become a major tourist attraction in the Free State, due to its proximity to Bloemfontein.