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Bloemfontein ( , Dutch for "spring of Bloem (bloom)", "flower spring" or "fountain of flowers") is the capital city of the Free Statemarker Province of South Africa as well as one of the nation's three capitals, the judicial capital. The city's Sesotho name is Mangaung, meaning "place of cheetahs" and became part of the Mangaung Local Municipality in 2000. 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 is situated on dry grassland at , at an altitude of 1,395 metres above sea level. The city is home to 369,568 residents, while the Mangaung Local Municipality has a population of 645,455. Bloemfontein is served by Bloemfontein airportmarker.


Bloemfontein, circa 1900.

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 Statemarker 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 Orange Free Statemarker (now Free Statemarker). In 1910 it became the Judicial Capital of South Africa.

Founding and early days

Warden originally chose the site largely because of its close 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 the heck does this help me out with what i searched for


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 Townmarker.

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 (1896). 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 Britainmarker 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 Townmarker 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 Paardebergmarker, Britishmarker 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 (including 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.

Recent history

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 Manguang Local Municipality and the Motheo District Municipalitymarker.

Geography and Climate

Bloemfontein is located in central South Africa on the southern edge of the Highveldmarker at an elevation of , 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 Highveldmarker grassland. Bloemfontein experiences a continental climate, with hot summer days (Jan: max:31°C min:15°C; frequent afternoon thunderstorms) and cooler, dry winters, often with frosts (July: max:17°C min:-2°C). Snow is rare 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, 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, 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 Stadiummarker and the surrounding sports complex is the main sports venue in the city and province. The venue will be the hosting stadium of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa matches played in Bloemfontein. There are several other sports venues however in the city, including facilities belonging to the university, schools and sports clubs.


Bloemfontein is joint home (together with nearby Botshabelomarker) to Premier Soccer League team Bloemfontein Celtic. Some of the matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be played at the Free State Stadium.


Bloemfontein's Free State Stadiummarker is home to two rugby union teams; the Central Cheetahs franchise who compete in the Super 14 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 winning the Golden Lions resulting in the Free State Cheetahs to be Currie Cup champions until at least 2008.


The Eagles cricket team representing the Free State and Northern Cape in various series is located at OUTsurance Ovalmarker, part of the Free State Stadiummarker 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.

Motor Sports

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 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.

Primary education

Secondary education

Tertiary education

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.


Part of the Sculpture Garden at Oliewenhuis Art Museum
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 Observatorymarker, 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.




Famous People

Many famous persons are associated with Bloemfontein; these include:


Bloemfontein has a large and diverse Christian population. The city houses several churches and denominations:

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 Norwichmarker, 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 & 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.



External links

  • Bloemfontein The official Mangaung Local Municipality website

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