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City of rest
From top left clockwise: Dutch Reformed Church, Statue of Paul Kruger, Old Anglican Church, Royal Bafokeng Stadium
Rustenburg is located in North West (South African province)
 Rustenburg shown within North West
Rustenburg is located in South Africa
Rustenburg (South Africa)
Rustenburg is located in Africa
Rustenburg (Africa)
Coordinates: 25°40′S 27°15′E / 25.667°S 27.250°E / -25.667; 27.250Coordinates: 25°40′S 27°15′E / 25.667°S 27.250°E / -25.667; 27.250
CountrySouth Africa
ProvinceNorth West
 • Total282.42 km2 (109.04 sq mi)
Elevation1,170 m (3,840 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total104,612
 • Density370/km2 (960/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African52.8%
 • Coloured2.8%
 • Indian/Asian3.3%
 • White40.4%
 • Other0.6%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • Afrikaans41.2%
 • Tswana27.9%
 • English11.9%
 • Sotho4.0%
 • Other15.0%
Time zoneUTC+2 (SAST)
Postal code (street)0300
PO box0300
Area code014
WebsiteRustenburg Local Municipality

Rustenburg (/ˈrʌstɪnbɜːrɡ/; Afrikaans pronunciation: [ˈrœstənbœrχ], Afrikaans and Dutch: Town of Rest[citation needed]) is a city at the foot of the Magaliesberg mountain range in North West Province of South Africa. It was one of the official host cities of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, being in close proximity to Phokeng, the capital of the Royal Bafokeng Nation, where the Royal Bafokeng Stadium is located. The England national football team also used this as their base camp for the tournament.



Before European settlers arrived, the area had been settled by agrarian Setswana speaking tribes for several hundred years after assimilating with the native pastoralist Khoikhoi people.[citation needed]

Rustenburg's population is primarily Tswana people. Many belong to the Royal Bafokeng Nation, extensive landowners earning royalties from mining operations. The Royal Bafokeng are descendants of Sotho settlers who displaced the local tribes from the region, which they came to call 'place of dew' (Phokeng). In the early 1800s, the Bafokeng and other Tswana communities were conquered in a series of devastating wars launched by an offshoot of the Zulu kingdom, called the Matebele. The Boers had also fought the Zulu and Matebele, and so the Boers and Tswana found in the Matebele a common enemy. The Tswana and Boers planned together and worked toward defeating the Matebele from a Sotho-Tswana kingdom to the south, and together, they defeated the Matebele. As the Boers settled in the area, called their settlement Rustenburg because they had relatively friendly relations with their Bafokeng allies in the area, and after the many violent military conflicts with other African chiefdoms, such as the Matebele, they believed they could rest ("rusten" in Dutch) in this settlement, whose name literally means "Resting Town."[citation needed] Although had already long lived in the area when the Boers arrived, the Bafokeng bought land rights from the Boers, and they purchased their first tracts of land in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century from the colonial rulers, some in exchange for serving in the Boer Wars. Although these land purchases were technically illegal[citation needed], Paul Kruger, who would become a president of the Transvaal Boer Republic, but was then a veld kornet, was friendly to the Bafokeng and helped arrange many of these purchases. A public hospital has been named after Paul Kruger.


Rustenburg is prominent in Afrikaner history. The town was established in 1851 as an administrative centre for a fertile farming area producing citrus fruit, tobacco, peanuts, sunflower seeds, maize, wheat and cattle. On 10 February 1859, the Reformed Churches in South Africa was founded under a Syringa tree which is commemorated by the memorial. One of the oldest Boer settlements in the north, Rustenburg was the home of Paul Kruger, president of the South African Republic, who bought a 5 square kilometer farm to the north-west of the town in 1863. The homestead on his farm, Boekenhoutfontein, is now the Paul Kruger Country Museum. When the Boer and the British came to blows in the Second Boer War (1899), the territory around Rustenburg became a battlefield. The two sides clashed famously at nearby Mafikeng, where the British garrison found itself under siege for months. These battle sites can be explored from Rustenburg.

Among the first residents of Rustenburg were settlers of Indian origin. One of the first families of Indian origin was the Bhyat family, whose contribution to the city's history was marked by the renaming of a major streetname to Fatima Bhayat Street in honour of Fatima Bhyat who arrived in Rustenburg with her husband in 1877.

With the arrival and successful farming practices of the Afrikaners (Boers) in the nineteenth century, Rustenburg became a primary agricultural region with vast citrus estates due to the favourable climate and abundant water supply.

Platinum mining in Rustenburg began in 1929, shortly after the discovery of the Platinum Reef by Hans Merensky, later named the Merensky Reef.The biggest Platinum mine in the world is located about 3km from the town centre and owned and managed by the Anglo American corporation.According to legend, the farmer that owned the land sold the mineral rights to Anglo American for R10 000.

The town has been transformed from a region recognized around the world since the 19th century for its natural springs and healing environment, as eloquently described in the book 'Rustenburg Romance' by author and poet Eric Rosenthal into one of the most polluted environments in the late 20th and early 21st century South Africa. The wanton despoliation of the environment through mining has drawn comparisons to the Norilsk complex in Russia, one of the ten most polluted cities in the world.[citation needed]


The township of Boitekong on the northeast side of Rustenburg has one of the highest incidence of AIDS orphans in South Africa[2] Rustenburg was the venue for World AIDS Day commemoration in December 2010.[3] The township is in a geographical area which bears the brunt of the catchment area of the toxic effects of the mining industry coupled with a very poor quality of water supply from the local Bospoort Dam, the water from which was for decades considered too toxic for human consumption until water shortages in the nineties compelled the purification and supply to Boitekong. Life for the majority under the rule of the 'Royal Bafokeng' has parallels to the apartheid era. In the Apartheid era, forced removals of old settlements were on the basis of racial divide whereas now it is done for installation of massive mining operations sometimes engulfing entire villages.[citation needed]

The Royal Bafokeng own the stadium selected as a World Cup 2010 venue, the only 'private' stadium that hosted games in the 2010 World cup. The Royal Bafokeng regard themselves as a 'separate nation' which is in contradiction to the Rainbow nation espoused by Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. This 'nationhood' is regarded by many today[who?] as a divide and rule tactic orchestrated by the mining conglomerates which has subsequently led to the calls for nationalization of the mining industry by the ANC Youth League. The majority of people in the region 20 years after the fall of apartheid still live in abject poverty despite the massive profits yielded by the platinum royalties. This has led in recent years to claims of kleptocracy against the 'royal' family and land claim disputes.[original research?]

Agriculture in the region has been in constant decline since the decimation of the vast citrus estates of Rustenburg in the 1970s and 1980s due to pollution from increased smelting and beneficiating processes by mines. There are only a fraction of the original citrus farms remaining.[citation needed]

In 1990, the first post-Apartheid conference between the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk (the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa) and the South African churches was held in Rustenburg. During this conference, professor Willie Jonker of the University of Stellenbosch made this confession on behalf of the entire DRC:

"[I] confess before you and before the Lord, not only my own sin and guilt, and my personal responsibility for the political, social, economic and structural wrongs that have been done to many of you and the results [from] which you and our whole country are still suffering, but vicariously I dare also to do that in the name of the NGK [the white DRC], of which I am a member, and for the Afrikaans people as a whole."[4]

The conference finally resulted in the signing of the Rustenburg Declaration, which moved strongly toward complete confession, forgiveness, and restitution.[5]


In August 2012, South African police fatally shot 34 miners and wounded 78 more during an industrial dispute Marikana miners' strike near Rustenburg, it was the most lethal use of force by South African security forces since the end of the apartheid era.[citation needed]


Rustenburg has a temperate humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa), although it may be defined tropical by some sources. It has very warm summers (from December to February) and mild winters (from June to August). Due to the altitude, summers are not quite as hot as one might expect. Precipitation occurs mainly in summer.

Climate data for Rustenburg
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30.3
Daily mean °C (°F) 23.8
Average low °C (°F) 17.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 117
Source: Rustenburg Local Municipality[6]

Demographics 2011[edit]

  • Area: 3,423.23 square kilometres (1,321.72 sq mi)
  • Population: 549,575
  • Households: 335,776
Gender Population %
Female 247,779 45.09
Male 301,796 54.91
Race Population %
Black 486,411 89
White 51,840 9
Coloured 4,862 1
Asian 4,215 1
First language Population %
IsiZulu 15,000 3
IsiXhosa 51,000 10
Afrikaans 53,000 10
Setswana 296,000 54
English 29,000 5

Tourist hub[edit]

The city is located on major highway routes and close to 2 major centres, making it a hub for tourist activities. Within the city are some historic churches, including the Anglican Church (1871) and the Dutch Reformed Church (1898–1903), the historic statue of the Voortrekker girl and the Rustenburg Museum. There is also other entertainment such as Waterfall mall and Platinum square where one can go shopping and eating. Rustenburg is also close to Magaliesburg which offers a number of restaurants and outdoor activities.

Communities and battlefields[edit]

There are several sites of cultural and historical significance in and around Rustenburg. Some of these related to the indigenous Bafokeng, Bakgatla and Botswana tribes, whose totemic tribal traditions are of interest.[citation needed] There is also the German community of Kroondal that traces its origins back to 1857.

A number of Anglo-Boer and ethnic war battles took place in the area with the districts of Koster, Swartruggens and Rustenburg featuring battlefields, memorial graves and ruined forts. The area also has archaeological remains from the Iron Age and Stone Age.

Game parks[edit]

Key attractions in this area include the nature reserves around Rustenburg. This includes:

  • Kgaswane Mountain Reserve is situated above the town of Rustenburg across a varied habitat of quartzite mountain peaks, it is open to hikers as well as vehicle visitors. It is a 4 257 ha reserve.
  • Madikwe Game Reserve and Groot Marico Park are large reserves north of the Pilanesberg, almost half the size of Belgium. They are conservation and transition zone between the Kalahari sandveld and the thornveld. Madikwe hosts all the major plains species, including the Big Five and has the second largest concentration of elephants in South Africa.
  • Pilanesberg Game Reserve is one of the most accessible South African game reserves. It is located a 1.5 hour drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria, outside Rustenburg. It is the fourth largest National Park in South Africa and is set in the Pilanesberg range, traversing the floor of a long-extinct volcano. Pilanesberg conserves all the major mammal species including lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo.

Holiday resorts[edit]

Sun City and Lost City are resorts located beyond the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. The complex is set on the slopes of a valley in the Pilanesberg Mountains. Tourist amenities include casinos, the 'Valley of the Waves' and two championship golf courses.[citation needed]



  • Rustenburg is home to the two largest platinum mines in the world and the world's largest platinum refinery, PMR [1] (Precious Metal Refiners), which processes around 70% of the world's platinum.
  • As a result of the mining activity in the area, there is also an increased focus on social development. Rustenburg is one of only 5 South African cities to have a community foundation, called the Greater Rustenburg Community Foundation (GRCF), that seeks to ensure the regional development reaches all levels of society.[citation needed]


Rustenburg Airfield (FARG) is the Rustenburg Local Municipality Airfield, licensed according to Civil Aviation Authority standards.[10] Rustenburg SkyDiving Club operates every weekend year round from the airfield.[11]


Schools in Rustenburg include: Boikagong Secondary School, Abana primary school

  • Bergsig Akademie/Academy[12]
  • Die Hoërskool Rustenburg[13]
  • HS Grenswag[14]
  • Zinniaville Secondary School[15]
  • Rustenburg Technical High School[16]
  • Grenville High School
  • Rauwane Sepeng
  • Fields College
  • Selly Park Convent Primary School
  • Selly Park Secondary School
  • Geelhout Park High School
  • H.F Tlou High School
  • President Mangope Technical and Commercial High School
  • Bafokeng High School
  • Grenswag HS
  • Lebone II College
  • Rustenburg Educational College
  • Meridian Private School
  • J M Ntsime High School
  • Keledi High School
  • Vastrap primary
  • Proteapark primary
  • Deo Gloria Christian Academy
  • Karlienpark Primary School
  • Khayalethu Secondary School
  • Bothibello Primary School
  • Nur-ul-Iman Muslim School
  • Itumeleng Secondary School
  • Tswaidi High School

Famous people[edit]

Famous people with roots in Rustenburg include:


  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Rustenburg". Census 2011.
  2. ^ "72 000 new infections in 6 months". News24. 1 December 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  3. ^ "M Masike: World AIDS Day (English)". Archived from the original on 28 March 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  4. ^ Tutu, Desmond; John Allen (1994). The Rainbow People of God:The Making of a Peaceful Revolution. New York: Doubleday. pp. 221–225. ISBN 0-385-47546-2.
  5. ^ "The Rustenburg Declaration" (PDF). 1990. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  6. ^ "Rustenburg State of Environment". Archived from the original on 14 June 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  7. ^ "South Africa: fast facts". Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  8. ^ SkyDive Rustenburg, SkyDive Rustenburg website link retrieved 14 March 2010
  9. ^ "Parachute Association of South Africa". Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  10. ^ South African Civil Aviation Authority, CAA website link retrieved 14 March 2010
  11. ^ SkyDive Rustenburg, SkyDive Rustenburg website link retrieved 25 June 2010
  12. ^ "Bergsig Academy/Akademie". Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  13. ^ "Rustenburg HS". Retrieved 10 April 2012. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  14. ^ "HS Grenswag ~ Die Skool wat Omgee!". 16 April 2012. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  15. ^ "Zinniaville Secondary School". Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  16. ^ Retrieved 7 April 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]