— Provincial Capital City — Mahikeng Coordinates: Country South Africa Province North-West Province District municipality Ngaka Modiri Molema Local municipality Mafikeng Founded by the Barolong Boo Ratshidi in 1880s Government – Executive Mayor Cllr. Nomtsama Lenah Miga Elevation 4,921 ft (1,500 m) Population (2001) – Total 49,300 Time zone SAST (UTC+2) Website http://www.mafikeng.gov.za/
Mahikeng – formerly legally, but still commonly known as Mafikeng (see name history below) – is the capital city of the North-West Province of South Africa. It is best known internationally for the Siege of Mafeking, the most famous engagement of the Second Boer War.
Located on South Africa's border with Botswana, it is 1,400 km (870 mi) northeast of Cape Town and 260 km (160 mi) west of Johannesburg. In 2001, it had a population of 49,300. In 2007, Mafikeng was reported to have a population of 250,000 of which the CBD constitutes between 69,000 and 75,000. It is built on the open veld at an elevation of 1,500 m (4,921 ft), by the banks of the Upper Molopo River. The Madibi goldfields are some 15 km (9.3 mi) south of the town.
Mafikeng was the headquarters of the Barolong Boo Ratshidi people. The town was founded by Molema Tawana ( c. 182--January 1882). Born in Khunwana during the difaqane period, Molema was the son of Kgosi Tawana of the Tshidi Barolong. He was brother, and close confidant, of Montshiwa, who later ruled over the chiefdom. During the time that the Tshidi Barolong resided at Thaba Nchu, where they found refuge during the difaqane, or period of turbulence in the 1820s, Molema was converted to Christianity by the Wesleyan missionaries based there. His son and heir, Silas Molema, was educated at Heraldtown College in the former Transkei. (Silas helped his nephew Sebopioa Molema get to the United States about 1904 to study law at Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio.)
In 1857 Molema led an advance guard to scout out the area along the Molopo River. This was a familiar area as they had previously lived in nearby Khunwana. Molema settled at Mafikeng (known in its early years as “Molema’s town"), while the main body of the Barolong under Montshiwa followed. But Montshiwa did not feel safe at Mafikeng due to the close presence and encroachment of the Boers in the Transvaal. He led his followers to Moshaneng in the territory of the Bangwaketse in present-day Botswana.
Molema remained at Mafikeng to ensure that the Barolong retained a presence there. Several of Montshiwa’s other brothers were also stationed at crucial sites in the proximity of the Molopo. Molema had to use all his diplomatic skills on several occasions to prevent Boer incursion and settlement near Mafikeng. He has been described as a man of "strong personality and exceptional gifts...and Montshiwa's chief counsellor in vital matters". (S.M Molema:35) After negotiations with Molema, Montshiwa decided to return to Mafikeng in 1876.
Molema was a firm believer in Western education, having attended Heraldtown; he opened a school for the Barolong once they had settled in the district. Molema became a farmer and businessman, as well as advising his brother Montshiwa. He died in 1882. One of his sons, Silas Molema, became a Doctor and historian of the Barolong. (see S.M. Molema). The settlement was named Mafikeng, a Setswana name meaning "place of stones". Later British settlers spelled the name as "Mafeking". The Jameson Raid started from Pitsani Pothlugo (or Potlogo) 24 miles (39 km) north of Mafeking on December 29, 1895.
At the outbreak of the Second Boer War in 1899, the town was besieged. The Siege of Mafeking lasted 217 days from October 1899 to May 1900, and turned Robert Baden-Powell into a national hero. In September 1904, Lord Roberts unveiled an obelisk at Mafeking bearing the names of those who fell in defence of the town. In all, 212 people were killed during the siege, with more than 600 wounded. Boer losses were significantly higher.
Although it was outside the protectorate's borders, Mafikeng served as capital of the Bechuanaland Protectorate from 1894 until 1965, when Gaborone was made the capital of what was to become Botswana. Mafeking briefly served as capital of the pre-independence Bantustan of Bophuthatswana in the 1970s, before the adjoining town of Mmabatho was established as capital.
In 1980 the spelling Mafikeng was restored. Following the end of apartheid in 1994, Mafikeng and Mmabatho were merged and made capital of the new North-West Province.
The town was first spelt by British settlers as Mafeking and by the end of apartheid, the name had changed to Mafikeng. In February 2010, Lulu Xingwana approved the town's name to be changed again to Mahikeng. Despite this the towns ANC run local government and most local residents still refer to the town as Mafiking both informally and formally.
Climate data for Mafikeng Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year Record high °C (°F) 40
Average high °C (°F) 31
27 Average low °C (°F) 18
12 Record low °C (°F) 8
Precipitation mm (inches) 117
Avg. precipitation days 13 10 10 7 3 1 1 1 2 6 9 9 72 Source: South African Weather Service Mafikeng Climate chart (explanation) J F M A M J J A S O N D117311883301774291557251214237520432045236132711372914643016673117 Average max. and min. temperatures in °C Precipitation totals in mm Source: SAWS Imperial conversion J F M A M J J A S O N D4.688643.386632.984592.277540.673450.268390.168390.273430.581521.584572.586612.68863 Average max. and min. temperatures in °F Precipitation totals in inches
- ^ a b http://www.mg.co.za/article/2010-02-02-xingwana-approves-28-geographical-name-changes
- ^ James T. Campbell, Songs of Zion: The African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States and South Africa, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 254-259
- ^ "History of Mafikeng". http://www.scouting.org.za/mafikeng/history.php. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
- ^ http://www.mafikeng.gov.za http://www.mafikeng.gov.za
- ^ http://mg.co.za/article/2011-08-09-old-south-africa-collides-with-new-in-city-names
- ^ a b "Climate data for Mmabatho". South African Weather Service. http://old.weathersa.co.za/Climat/Climstats/MmabathoStats.jsp. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
- Mafikeng Local Municipality– www.mafikeng.gov.za
- Mafikeng's Premier Business & Tourism Gateway– www.mafikeng.co.za
- McGonagall on the Relief of Mafeking– William McGonagall's poem and a brief history of the siege.
Province of North West, South AfricaProvincial Capital: Mafikeng District
Provincial capitals of South Africa
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.