The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa


Afrikaans name: Botshabelo



Photo © Johan van Zyl

Botshabelo lies 45 km east of Bloemfontein. It started out as a squatter camp but developed into a large township. Today, with a population of over 900,000, it is the second largest township in South Africa. It falls within the Mangaung Metro Municipality.

The name means 'place of refuge' and has attracted displaced people either through the Apartheid laws or those who weren't from the Tswana tribe when the area fell under the homeland of Bophuthatswana. In particular all non-Tswana people were expelled from the nearby Thaba Nchu with, at the time, the “border” between South Africa and Bophuthatswana running between them.

Today it has a large industrial park producing food, clothing, chicken products and others. Those who can't find jobs in the town have to travel to Bloemfontein by rail or bus.

Botshabelo is well-served by shops, transport and schools. The Kaizer Sebothelo Stadium can seat 20,000 sports fans.

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Botshabelo countryside

Above - Country side near Botshabelo

Photo © Johan van Zyl

References and further reading

On Route - Explore South Africa region by region - 3rd edition - Author: B.P.J. Erasmus - Published: 2014 - Page: 384

On Route - A region by region guide to South Africa - Author: B.P.J. Erasmus - Published: 1995 - Page: 270


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