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Kasi yadi Kasi
Botshabelo is located in Free State (South African province)
Botshabelo is located in South Africa
Botshabelo is located in Africa
 Botshabelo shown within Free State
Coordinates: 29°13′59″S 26°43′59″E / 29.23306°S 26.73306°E / -29.23306; 26.73306Coordinates: 29°13′59″S 26°43′59″E / 29.23306°S 26.73306°E / -29.23306; 26.73306
Country South Africa
Province Free State
Municipality Mangaung
Established 1979
 • Mayor Olly Mlamleli (ANC)
 • Total 103.98 km2 (40.15 sq mi)
Elevation 1,423 m (4,669 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 181,712
 • Density 1,700/km2 (4,500/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African 99.2%
 • Coloured 0.3%
 • Indian/Asian 0.2%
 • White 0.1%
 • Other 0.2%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • Sotho 84.5%
 • Xhosa 7.6%
 • English 2.0%
 • Afrikaans 1.6%
 • Other 4.3%
Postal code (street) 9781
PO box 9781
Area code (+27) 51

Botshabelo, meaning "a place of refuge", is a large township set up in 1979 by the then apartheid government 45 km east of Bloemfontein in the present-day Free State province of South Africa. Botshabelo situated on the N8 road (South Africa) road and it was once the second-largest township in South Africa (after Soweto). The population comprises mainly people who speak Southern Sotho and Xhosa. The township had over 350 000 inhabitants as of the 2001 census.


As many people moved away from the farms in the Free State, they looked for places to stay in the region of Thaba Nchu, another homeland under the old Bophutatswana government.[2][3]

The policy governing Bophutatswana at the time clearly stated that Bophutatswana belongs to those who are of Tswana tribe. As a result, all other tribes, mainly Sotho and Xhosa, were housed at a squatter camp named “Kromdraai”. Kromdraai was initiated by a man who was only referred to as "Khoza". He was selling a stand for only 50 cents around the year of 1976.

Later on the government of Bophutatswana started to strongly condemn the development of that area and worked hard through their police force during the day and night, striving to dispatch everybody living in the region and who is not a Tswana. As the pressure mounted for the people of Kromdraai, Khoza fled and he was no longer to be seen.

In 1979, the then Prime Minister of QwaQwa, Kenneth Mopeli together with the apartheid government found a place for all the people of Kromdraai at a farm called Onverwacht. All the people who were not Tswana started to move to Onverwacht for free, and later on when they started to settle in the area paid ZAR80 for a stand. Late in 1980 to early 1981 the name Onverwacht started to disappear and people started to call their place by the name of Botshabelo, this name given by Julius Nkoko.


Botshabelo has a new regional shopping mall near the industrial park. The mall is anchored by Shoprite, Woolworths, Pick n Pay, Cashbuild & Truworths. This new shopping destination has over 80 stores including banks and restaurants. The mall is owned by the Liberty Property Group and Khora investments. It is located at Cnr N8 road & Jazzman Mokhothu highway.

Other shopping centres[edit]

  • Northern centre
  • Shoprite centre
  • Addy's Plaza
  • Rea-hola shopping centre also known as Fairways


  • Botshabelo has a large industrial park with large companies located there. The economy of this township is based on production of food, clothing and other goods. The poultry producing company [Supreme poultry Pty (Ltd)] is located here.
  • Capitec Bank and Shoprite has three branches and supermarkets in this township respectively.


Botshabelo is one of the towns that have produced soccer players for the Premier Soccer League (PSL), especially for Bloemfontein Celtics, players such as James Madidilane, Ditheko Mototo, the late Abram Raselemane, Ntho Moshe, Motseothata November, Ace Gulwa, Lefu Nyapuli, Moeketsi Sekola, Teboho Salemane and others. Kaizer Sebothelo Stadium is the main sporting venue in Botshabelo with a capacity of 20 000 seats, including a sporting arena where indoor sports are played, as well as a newly revamped recreational swimming pool open to the public.


  • Motheo FET College has a satellite campus in this township.
  • Botshabelo has over 65 primary and secondary schools.


Botshabelo is served by 'Interstate Bus Lines' commuter buses and 'Big Sky Coaches', both traveling local and long distances on a daily basis. The township is located on the main railway line between Bloemfontein and Maseru. The township still has unnamed streets, but the development of upgrading and naming of streets and roads are underway. There is also a new taxi rank at the newly built Botshabelo Mall.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Botshabelo". Census 2011. 
  2. ^ Murray, Colin (1987). "Displaced Urbanization: South Africa's Rural Slums". African Affairs. Oxford University. 86 (344): 311–329. JSTOR 722745. 
  3. ^ Tomlinson, Richard; Krige, Skip (1997). "Botshabelo: Coping With the Consequences of Urban Apartheid". International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. international journal of urban and regional research. 21 (4): 691–705. doi:10.1111/1468-2427.00109. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Botshabelo, Free State at Wikimedia Commons