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For the town in Mpumalanga, see Botshabelo, Mpumalanga.
Kasi yadi Kasi
Botshabelo, Free State
Botshabelo, Free State
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
 • 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
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 and is 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 will have a new regional mall near the industrial park with the botshabelo interchange on the N8 under construction. The mall will be anchored by shoprite, Woolworths, pick n pay, cashbuild & Truworths, the mall will have over 75 stores including banks and restaurants. The mall is being build by liberty property group with Khora investments.

  • Northern centre
  • Shoprite centre
  • Addy's plaza
  • Rea-hola- shopping centre


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 chicken producer company Supreme poultry Pty (ltd) is located here.


Botshabelo is one of the towns that have produced soccer players for the Premier Soccer League (PSL) especially for Celtics such as 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 the capacity of 20 000 seater and the arena were indoor sports are played.


  • Motheo FET College has a satellite campus in this township.
  • Botshabelo have over 95 primary and secondary schools.


Botshabelo is served by Interstate bus lines and Big sky coaches traveling local and long distances,the township is located on the main railway line between Bloemfontein and Maseru,the township still have unnamed streets but the development to upgrading of road's and renaming of roads is underway. Botshabelo will also get new taxi rank near the mall and jazzman mokhothu highway is under construction from the lechabile filling station until the N8 road will have a dual carriage way.

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