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Bloemfontein (11px IPA: /IPA: /, Dutch for "fountain of flowers" – lit., "blooms") 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[dated info].
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.
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 Memorial, 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[who?] as the judicial capital. It is also an administrative centre with many private hospitals and educational institutions.
Geography and climate
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 min:19 °C; frequent afternoon thunderstorms) and cooler, dry winters, often with frosts (July: max:14 °C min:-3 °C). 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.
Bloemfontein suburbs include Heidedal to the east and southeast, Bainsvlei, Woodland Hills Wildlife Estate, Bayswater, 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 north of Bloemfontein, you will find Langenhovenpark, Arboretum, Bayswater, Dan Pienaar, Helicon Heights, Heuwelsig, Hillsboro, Hillside, Hilton, Naval Hill, Navalsig, Noordhoek, Pentagon Park, Panorama Park,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 franchise 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.
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
- St. Andrew's School, Bloemfontein|St. Andrew's School
- Grey College, Bloemfontein|Grey College Secondary School
- Eunice High School
- Bloemfontein High School
- CVO Skool Dankbaar in Bain's Vlei is a 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, Bloemfontein|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
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.
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. Touching of animals is allowed and coming face to face with these creatures outside of a zoo environment is a once in a lifetime experience not to be missed.
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
- Magna Kruger - fantasty novelist
- 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
- Cobus Potgieter, drummer
- Kareem Salman, Humanitarian born in Bloemfontein
- Tony Kgoroge, South African actor, performances in movies including Hotel Rwanda, Blood Diamond, Invictus, Lord of War and Skin.
- Gerrit Badenhorst, (born 10 Oct. 1962) is a powerlifter and strongman competitor from South Africa. He was seven times South Africa’s Strongest Man and participated in the World's Strongest Man finals on seven occasions, coming second in 1995.
- Lucas Maree, Afrikaans musician and songwriter
- Coenie de Villiers, Afrikaans musician and songwriter
- Maretha Maartens, Afrikaans author
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.
Community Service Organizations
- Round Table 25 Bloemfontein Round Table is a non-political, non-racial association of young men between the ages of 18 and 40, embracing representatives of nearly every profession and occupation. Its objects are the encouragement of high ethical standards, the promotion of social inter-action and fellowship among young professional and business men and the quickening of individual interest in everything affecting the public welfare.
- 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.
- Arrive Alive South Africa Official Road Safety Website Our vision was " To develop an effective road safety information portal that will enhance awareness of road safety and save lives", the web site is currently owned by Adv. Johan Jonck & was developed by a local Bloemfontein web site company Chillies.co.za & this partnership achieved massive milestones has now been endorsed by the RTMC & Department of Roads South Africa as the only Official Road Safety web site for South Africa.
-  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.
- http://www.petactiongroup.co.za The Pet Action Group is a Non Profit Animal Welfare Organisation started in 2000. Their aim is to make a difference in the lives of animals in poverty stricken areas in and around Bloemfontein.
- ^ Bloemfontein: Did you know?
- ^ Bloemfontein: General Information
- ^ Bridget Hilton-Barber (2001). Weekends with Legends. New Africa Books. p. 98. ISBN 0-86486-471-X. http://books.google.com/books?id=te1461s33IwC.
- ^ Arthur Clive Martin (1957). The Concentration Camps, 1900–1902: Facts, Figures and Fables. H. Timmins. p. 31. http://books.google.com/books?id=lKkwAAAAIAAJ&pgis=1.
- ^ Black Concentration Camps
- ^ Concentration Camps during Anglo-Boer War
- ^ J. R. R. Tolkien#Childhood
- ^ http://www.mornevanwyk.co.za
- ^ "Cobus Potgieter, YouTube drummer extraordinaire: So much has changed, so much is the same". SMG Africa. 6 August 2009. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
- ^ "Kareem Salman, Humanitarian born in Bloemfontein".
- The Bloemfontein City Guide | Mangaung Metro Information
- Bloemfontein City Guide | Mangaung info
- Bloemfontein The official Mangaung Local Municipality website
-  Bloemfontein Online Directory & Live Help Desk
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