|Nickname(s): The City of Roses|
|• Total||333.69 km2 (128.84 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,395 m (4,577 ft)|
|• Density||990/km2 ( 2,600/sq mi)|
|Racial makeup (2001)|
|• Black African||72.6%|
|First languages (2001)|
|Time zone||SAST ( UTC+2)|
Bloemfontein (pron.: / /, Afrikaans pronunciation: [ˈblum.fɔn.ˌtɛi̯n]; Dutch for "fountain of flowers") is the capital city of the Free State Province of South Africa; and, as the judicial capital of the nation, one of South Africa's three national capitals – the other two being Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Pretoria, the administrative capital.
Bloemfontein is popularly and poetically known as "the city of roses", owing to the abundance of these flowers and the annual rose festival held there. The city's Sesotho name is Mangaung, meaning "place of cheetahs" and it has been included in the Mangaung Local Municipality since 2000.
Bloemfontein is situated on dry grassland at, at an altitude of 1,395 m (4,577 ft) above sea level. The city is home to 369,568 residents, while the Mangaung Local Municipality has a population of 645,455.
Though historically a predominantly Afrikaner settlement, Bloemfontein was officially founded in 1846 as a fort by British army major Henry Douglas Warden as a British outpost in the Transoranje region, at that stage occupied by various groups of peoples including Cape Colony Trek Boers, Griqua and Basotho. Although modern day Bloemfontein has a reputation for its flowers in an otherwise arid region, the origin of the city's name is unclear. Popular legends include an ox named "Bloem" owned by one of the pioneer farmers that was taken by a lion near a fountain on his property, while another story names Jan Blom (1775–1858), a Korana KhoiKhoi leader who inhabited the area. Bloemfontein literally means fountain of flowers or flower spring in Dutch. With colonial policy shifts, the region changed into the Orange River Sovereignty (1848–1854) and eventually the Orange Free State Republic (1854–1902). From 1902–1910 it served as the capital of the Orange River Colony and since that time as the provincial capital of the Free State. In 1910 it became the Judicial capital of the Union of South Africa.
Founding and early days
Warden originally chose the site largely because of its proximity to the main route to Winburg, the spacious open country, and the absence of horse sickness. Bloemfontein was the original farm of Johannes Nicolaas Brits born 21 February 1790, owner and first inhabitant of Bloemfontein. Johann – as he was known – sold the farm to Maj Warden.
As the capital of the Orange Free State Republic the growth and maturing of the Republic resulted in the growth of the town. Numerous public buildings that remain in use today were constructed. This was largely facilitated by the excellent governance of the Republic (which acquired the term model republic) and the compensation from the British for the loss of the diamond rich Griqualand area.
A railway line was built in 1890 connecting Bloemfontein to Cape Town.
The writer J. R. R. Tolkien was born in the city on 3 January 1892, though his family left South Africa following the death of his father, Arthur Tolkien, while Tolkien was still a child (1895). He recorded that his earliest memories were of "a hot country."
Second Anglo-Boer War/South African War
In 1899 the city was the site of the Bloemfontein Conference, which failed to prevent the outbreak of the Second Boer War. The conference was a final attempt to avert a war between Britain and the South African Republic. With its failure the stage was set for war, which broke out on 11 October 1899.
The rail line from Cape Town provided a centrally located railway station, and proved critical to the British in occupying the city later.
On 13 March 1900, following the Battle of Paardeberg, British forces captured the city and built a concentration camp nearby to house Boer women and children. The National Women's Monument, on the outskirts of the city, pays homage to the 26,370 women and children as well as 1,421 old men (Also 14,154 black people, though some sources feel that the records are unsatisfactory, and that this number could be as high as 20,000) who died in these camps in various parts of the country.
Until 1994 the city was the sole judicial capital of South Africa. It remains the seat for the Supreme Court Of Appeal (formerly the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court) and is therefore generally regarded as the judicial capital. It is also an administrative centre with many private hospitals and educational institutions.
Bloemfontein forms part of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, which was upgraded from a Local Municipality in 2011.
Geography and climate
|Climate chart ( explanation)|
Bloemfontein is located in central South Africa on the southern edge of the Highveld at an elevation of 1,400 metres (4,600 ft), bordering on the semi-arid region of the Karoo. The area is generally flat with occasional hills (koppies in Afrikaans) and the general vegetation is Highveld grassland. Bloemfontein experiences a semi-arid climate, with hot summer days (Jan: max:32 °C (90 °F) min:19 °C (66 °F); frequent afternoon thunderstorms) and cooler, dry winters, often with frosts (July: max:14 °C (57 °F) min:−3 °C (27 °F)). Snow is uncommon but as recently as August 2006 it snowed in the city, with snowfalls occurring again at the airport on 26 July 2007.
|Climate data for Bloemfontein|
|Record high °C (°F)||39
|Average high °C (°F)||31
|Average low °C (°F)||15
|Record low °C (°F)||6
|Precipitation mm (inches)||83
|Avg. precipitation days||11||11||11||9||4||3||2||3||4||7||9||10||84|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||297.6||251.4||257.3||249.0||266.6||249.0||272.8||285.2||279.0||291.4||297.0||319.3||3,315.6|
|Source #1: South African Weather Service|
|Source #2: Hong Kong Observatory (sun only 1961-1990).|
Bloemfontein suburbs include Heidedal to the east and southeast, Bainsvlei, Woodland Hills Wildlife Estate, Brandwag, Ehrlichpark, Fauna, Fichardtpark, Fleurdal, Gardeniapark, Generaal De Wet, Hospitaalpark, Kiepersol, Langenhoven Park, Lourierpark, Park West, Pellissier, Uitsig, Universitas, Westdene, Wilgehof and Willows to the south of the city. To the west of Bloemfontein, you will find Langenhovenpark. To the north you will find Arboretum, Baysvalley, Bayswater, Dan Pienaar, Helicon Heights, Heuwelsig, Hillsboro, Hillside, Hilton, Naval Hill, Navalsig, Noordhoek, Pentagon Park, Panorama Park, and Waverley. The predominantly black suburbs are; Rocklands, Phahameng, Phelindaba, Bloemanda, Bochabela and the most historic Batho where the Maphikela House (where the African national Congress – ANC started) is situated.
The Free State Stadium and the surrounding sports complex is the main sports venue in the city and province. The venue was the hosting stadium of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa matches played in Bloemfontein. There are several other sports venues in the city, however, including facilities belonging to the university, schools and sports clubs.
Bloemfontein is joint home (together with nearby Botshabelo) to Premier Soccer League team Bloemfontein Celtic. Some of the matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup were played at the Free State Stadium, including the historic 4–1 defeat of England by Germany in the round of 16.
Bloemfontein's Free State Stadium is home to two rugby union teams; the Central Cheetahs who compete in Super Rugby and the Free State Cheetahs who play in the domestic Currie Cup. The Free State Cheetahs won the Currie Cup in 2005 against the Blue Bulls, they drew the final with the Blue Bulls in 2006 and retained the Currie Cup title in 2007 by beating the Golden Lions resulting in the Free State Cheetahs remaining Currie Cup champions until 2008 when the failed to make the final for the first time since 2004. 2009 saw the Cheetahs return to the Currie Cup final but they were unable to beat the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.
The Knights cricket team representing the Free State and Northern Cape in various series is located at Chevrolet Park, part of the Free State Stadium complex. Bloemfontein features as a regular venue for touring international and local cricket teams.
One of the most active soaring communities in South Africa and the world is using the New Tempe Airport north of Bloemfontein.
Bloemfontein has a motocross track run by the Bloemfontein Off Road Club, as well as a go-kart circuit (M&F Raceway), which is run by Bloemfontein Kart Club.
Bloemfontein has a comprehensive shooting centre 20 km south of the city, offering most forms of shooting including various clay target, pistol and rifle disciplines. Bloemfontein's shooting sport community has produced many provincial and national representatives over the years.
Bloemfontein offers many institutions of learning, from pre-schools to Universities and colleges. Classes are taught in different schools in different languages, some schools even teaching all classes in two languages. These languages are mostly Afrikaans, English or Sesotho.
- Grey College Primary School
- Bloemfontein Primary School
- Laerskool Universitas (TJOKKIES)
- Willem Postma Primary School
- Laerskool Sentraal Primary
- Rutanang Primary School
- Brebner Primary School
- Fichardt Park Primary School
- Jim Fouché Primary School
- Gonyane primary
- Morafe primary
- Legae primary
- Rekgonne primary
- Laerskool Dr Viljoen
- Tsholohelo Primary
- Mangaung Primary
- Lesedi Primary
- Nzame Primary
- Unity Primary
- Daluxolo Primary
- President Brand Primary (PBS)
- Maboloka Primary
- Bochabela Primary
- Ikhwezi Primary
- Marang Primary
- Credence Primary (Heidedal)
- Batho Primary
- Heide Primary (Heidedal)
- Academy of Learning
- Mabeoana Primary
- Ihobe Primary
- Daluxolo Primary
- Mabolela Primary
- Olympia Primary (Heidedal)
- Mothusi Primary
- Karabelo Primary
- Monyatsi Primary
- Joe Solomon Primary(Heidedal)
- Tebelelo Primary
- Kgato Primary
- Rekgonne Primary
- Fauna Primary
- Wilgehof Primary
- Phahamisang Primary
- St. Andrew's School
- Grey College Secondary School
- Eunice High School
- Bloemfontein High School
- CVO Skool Dankbaar in Bain's Vlei (private Calvinist school, affiliated with the BCVO)
- Hoërskool Fichardtpark in Fichhardtpark
- Technical High School Louis Botha
- Hoërskool Jim Fouché
- Hoërskool Sand du Plessis
- St. Michael's School
- Hoërskool Sentraal
- C&N Sekondêre Meisieskool Oranje
- Brebner High School
- Tsoseletso High School
- Kaelang Secondary School
- Heatherdale Secondary School
- Atlehang Senior Secondary School
- Hoërskool Dr Viljoen
- St Joseph's CBC
- Sehunelo High School
- Ikaelelo Senior Secondary School
- Lereko High School
- Moemedi Senior Secondary School
- Vulamasango High School
- Hodisa Technical High School
- Comm Tech High School
- Kagisho Senior Secondary School
- Dr Blok High School
- Bloemfontein South High School
There is a Further Education and Training College called Motheo FET College which comprises three main campuses(Thaba N'chu, Hillside view and Bloemfontein)and the satellite campuses in Zastron,Philippolis and Botshabelo.
The largest tertiary institutions in Bloemfontein are the of University of the Free State and the Central University of Technology. Private Colleges include Damelin, Boston City Campus, and the Qualitas Career Academy, CTU Training Solutions.
Visitors to Bloemfontein have the unique opportunity to interact with cheetahs, lions, leopards, and tigers, as well as with other animals that have been rescued at the Cheetah Experience in the suburb of Bainsvlei, only 5mins from the centre of Bloemfontein..
One can also enjoy a day or a sleep over at the Bloemfontein Zoo. Zoo Snoozes are only one of the activities arranged by Friends of the Bloemfontein Zoo.
Boyden Observatory, a unique astronomy research and educational centre outside the city, offers public open evenings on certain nights during the year, arranged by the Friends of Boyden Observatory. Groups can also visit the observatory for exclusive evenings on appointment.
Atop Naval Hill is the Franklin Game Reserve. It was named after John Franklin, South African Senator, attorney and Mayor of Bloemfontein in the 1930s.
Many famous persons are associated with Bloemfontein; these include:
- Allan Donald, South African cricketer
- Francois Steyn, rugby player
- Hansie Cronje, controversial South African cricket captain
- J. R. R. Tolkien CBE was born in Bloemfontein on 3 January 1892. Tolkien is famous for his fantasy epics The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. When aged 3, Tolkien left South Africa for England.
- Juan Smith, rugby player
- Leon Schuster, filmmaker, comedian and musician, born and schooled in Bloemfontein
- Morne van Wyk played for South Africa Proteas Cricket team
- Os du Randt, rugby player
- Ryk Neethling, Olympic gold medalist swimmer
- Shaun Morgan and Dale Stewart, musicians and founding members of the band Seether
- Zola Budd, international long distance athlete, born in the city and attended Sentraal High School
- Willem Jackson, played for South Africa Bafana Bafana soccer team
- Tony Kgoroge, South African actor, performances in movies including Hotel Rwanda, Blood Diamond, Invictus, Lord of War and Skin.
- Gerrit Badenhorst,is a powerlifter and strongman competitor.
- Lucas Maree, Afrikaans musician and songwriter
- Coenie de Villiers, Afrikaans musician and songwriter
- Professor Russel Botman, rector and vice-chancellor of University of Stellenbosch
- Winkie Direko, first African chancellor of the University of the Free State
- Alfred"Ace"Mgedeza, former Orlando Pirates legend in the 1970s
- Mochubela Seekoei, former ANC ambassador to the United Nations
- Petrus Molemela, life president of Bloemfontein Celtic
- Thomas Mapikela, former Treasurer- General of the ANC
- Caleb Motshabi, first Bloemfonteiner to serve jail term on Robben Island
Bloemfontein has a large and diverse Christian population. The city houses several churches and denominations:
- It is the seat of the Anglican Diocese of the Free State
- Afrikaans Baptist Church (Afrikaans: Afrikaanse Baptiste Kerk)
- Dutch Reformed Church (Afrikaans: Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk)
- Sacred Heart Cathedral in Bloemfontein is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bloemfontein
- Seventh-day Adventist Church, Southern African headquarters.
- Christian Revival Church (CRC), is the largest church in bloemfontein with over 30 000 members. It has 40 daughter churches across South Africa, Europe, America & Australia. The church is led by Pastor At Boshoff, together with his wife Nyretta .
- New Covenant Ministries International led by Chris Gerber. Is a vibrant New Testament Church known by the name Fountainhead Church International.
It also has a large Jewish population, which was established during the mid-19th century. There are two main cemeteries in Blowmfontein:
- The Old Cemetery: Over 1,000 names from the three cemeteries. Old: The oldest of the three cemeteries, dating from 1871, is simply a small fenced off area of a public cemetery near the city centre. It includes a few graves of several Jewish pioneers involved in the early days of the city who died serving on either side in the Boer War, 1899-1902. Each of the thirty or so tombstones of these pioneer families has been completely transcribed.
- South Park: This cemetery was consecrated in 1978 and now includes about 100 graves.
In October 7, 2010, Several tombstones in the Jewish cemetery in Bloemfontein were defaced with swastikas and antisemitc graffiti. In April 10, 2012, Bloemfontein's historic Memoriam cemetery vandalized, with 35 tombstones toppled and obscene graffiti daubed on the walls of the adjoining Ohel. The graffiti included images of money bags and diamonds, as well as of a crudely drawn Magen David, allegedly as part of an anti-Semitic act.
Community Service Organizations
- Round Table 158 Bloemfontein The first Round Table was formed in Norwich, England in 1927. The founder, Louis Marchesi, was a young member of Norwich Rotary Club who felt a need existed for a club where the young business men of the town could gather on a regular basis. At their meetings they could exchange ideas, learn from the experiences of their colleagues and play a collective part in the civic life of Norwich. From a very early stage it was agreed that Round Table would be a non-religious, non-political club and this has continued to this day.
- Child Welfare Bloemfontein Child Welfare Bloemfontein & Childline Free State is a non-profit organisation that was founded in 1914 by a group of volunteers who identified a need for welfare services among the community. In 2004, Child Welfare Bloemfontein celebrated its 90th birthday. Over the past 90 years, many community programmes have been successfully implemented.
- FreeMasons The Masonic Centre, Bloemfontein, was built during the 1970s when all the Masonic Lodges in Bloemfontein, sold their individual properties. The Centre was erected to facilitate all Masonic activities in Bloemfontein and surrounding areas. All four Constitutions that is active in South Africa, gather at the Centre. The Lodges that has ownership of the Centre is Lodge Unie (est. 1864); the Rising Star Lodge (est. 1865); Thistle Lodge (est.1903); Emerald Lodge (est. 1905); Lodge Dagbreek (est. 1932) & Lodge Oranje (est. 1964). Various side degrees are catered for at the Centre which includes the Mark, Ark, the Royal Arch & Rose Croix. Bloemfontein has a rich Masonic history especially in the Anglo Boer War (1899–1902), with members such as Lord Kitchener, Rudyard Kipling and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, visiting Lodges in Bloemfontein.