Pomfret, North West

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Pomfret is located in North West (South African province)
Pomfret is located in South Africa
Pomfret is located in Africa
 Pomfret shown within North West
Coordinates: 25°49′S 23°32′E / 25.817°S 23.533°E / -25.817; 23.533Coordinates: 25°49′S 23°32′E / 25.817°S 23.533°E / -25.817; 23.533
Country South Africa
Province North West
District Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati
Municipality Kagisano/Molopo
 • Total 29.79 km2 (11.50 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 1,939
 • Density 65/km2 (170/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African 97.7%
 • Coloured 1.2%
 • Indian/Asian 0.2%
 • White 0.5%
 • Other 0.4%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • Tswana 24.7%
 • English 3.4%
 • Afrikaans 2.0%
 • Other 69.9%
PO box 8619
Area code 053

Pomfret is a desert town, the site of an old asbestos mine, on the edge of the Kalahari desert in northwest South Africa. It is the administrative centre of Molopo Local Municipality.[2] Many of its inhabitants are former members of 32 Battalion, also known as Buffalo Battalion. These ex-soldiers were predominantly Portuguese-speaking Angolans who fought on the South African government side in Angola and Namibia, and after the end of the South African Border War to police the black townships.[3] The community remains largely Portuguese-speaking.[4]

Present day[edit]

Today the town is described as depressing by those who visit. Injured 32 Battallion veterans of war live in squalid circumstances.[5]

In 2004, 60 mercenaries from Pomfret were recruited to take part in an attempted coup against the government of Equatorial Guinea, known as the Wonga coup They were jailed for one year for their suspected involvement.[6]

A 2009 documentary film recorded South African mercenaries describing how Pomfret was a place to recruit cheap labor for mercenary activities.[7]

Asbestos mine in Pomfret[edit]

Asbestos mine

The presence of asbestos in the subsoil was the major reason for the creation of the town. Asbestos was mined and used in the motor industry for the making of brake pads, roofing, and water pipes. The mine is now closed, and is a tourist attraction.


  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Pomfret". Census 2011. 
  2. ^ Municipal Demarcation Board : Municipal Profiles 2003 : Contact Information for Molopo Local Municipality Retrieved 15 April 2010
  3. ^ "South Africa - Pomfret". Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  4. ^ Legalbrief - Interim halt to Pomfret relocation
  5. ^ Phillips, Barnaby (2004-05-12). "South Africa's 'mercenary' village". BBC News. Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  6. ^ "South Africa - Dogs of War Head Home – But They'll Find It's Gone". Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  7. ^ Once Upon a Coup, PBS Documentary, August 2009, http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/episodes/once-upon-a-coup/full-episode/?p=5496

External links[edit]