|• Total||29.9 km2 (11.5 sq mi)|
|• Density||430/km2 (1,100/sq mi)|
|Racial makeup (2011)|
|• Black African||87.1%|
|First languages (2011)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (SAST)|
|Postal code (street)|
Brandfort is a small agricultural town in the central Free State province of South Africa, about 60 km northeast of Bloemfontein. The town serves the surrounding farms for supplies and amenities. It is well known for once being home to the Anti-Apartheid stalwart and former wife of Nelson Mandela Winnie Mandela during her banishment. The British built a concentration camp here during the Second Boer War to house Boer women and children. Brandfort was also home to former prime-minister Hendrik Verwoerd, an architect of Apartheid, who matriculated there and Cardiff City F.C. midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi was born in Brandfort. This is where Admiral John Weston designed and built the First Aeroplane in Africa as well as the First RV/caravan in the World. He also designed the Gnome Engines now exhibited in the Bloemfontein Museum.
The town was established in 1866 on the farm Keerom, occupied by Jacobus van Zijl who was a Voortrekker elder. The community was visited by the then Orange Free State President, Johannes Brand, and the settlement was named in his honour shortly afterwards. Brandfort was later proclaimed a town in 1874.It was also the Capital city of the Free State during the Anglo Boer War (1899-1902).
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Concentration camps, derived from the Spanish word "concentrade", were first used in Cuba in 1896 by General Butcher Weyler.Half a million Cuban civilians were rounded up and incarcerated in fortified villages in which about 100 000 died. In South Africa, the first concentration camps were erected in early 1901 during the South African War (1899-1902), also known as the Second Boer War. Thousands of women and children were removed from their farms and towns to the concentration camps.
Conditions in the concentration camps were poor due to overcrowding and inadequate supplies. Malnutrition and disease spread rapidly leading to the deaths of many civilians in these camps.
Segregation persisted during war time and there was a camp for Whites called Dwyersdorp (named after Captain Dywer who assisted White women and children who had been incarcerated at the camp) and the adjacent one for Blacks was called Nooitgedacht.
The camp cemetery was declared as a National Monument in 1985 and currently holds Provincial Heritage Site status. It contains the remains of 1263 women and children who died. The cemetery was opened on 22 September 1962 by President Charles Robberts Swart.
Winnie Mandela (politician, liberation struggle stalwart and former wife of the late Nelson Mandela) was banished to Brandfort in May 1977. She lived at house number 802 in the Black township in Brandfort. The area had no running water and electricity, and when she moved to her house, there were no floors and ceilings.
In the book, Winnie Mandela: A life, she described Brandfort as:
"A drab and dusty rural hamlet with unimaginative houses, an old-fashioned two-storey hotel, small shops lining the main street and a pervading atmosphere of lethargy and inactivity… The forlorn township had no official name but the black residents had baptised it “Phathakahle” meaning handle with care"
The site has been nominated as a National Heritage Site and plans are underway to develop it into a museum. Yet, since 1994
these plans has only lead to corrupt tenders on the part of the corrupt ANC government. The site has not received any maintenance
Other monuments and heritage sites
The Florisbad archaeological and paleontological site lies about 46 km west of Brandfort and the site was declared as a National Monument (now a Provincial Heritage Site) in 1997. The Florisbad Skull, an early hominid from the Middle Stone Age, was found here.
The first aeroplane built in Africa was built in Brandfort on property owned by Rear Admiral John Weston. The house has been turned into a restaurant and tourist attraction with the history of the Rear-Admiral and Brandfort.It has been nominated a National Heritage Site by SAHRA. This is where John Weston lived and designed both the Aeroplane and Gnome engine now exhibited by the Bloemfontein Museum. The engine is a Provincial Heritage memorabilia. He also designed the First RV/motorized caravan in the World. And travelled through the Continent of Africa with his family for 18 months from Cape Agulhas to Palestine. Their journey was interrupted because the children had to attend School in England. He married Lily Roux in 1906. They had 3 children. Anna; Kathleen and Max. He lived an Extraordinary life which came to an abrupt end in 1950 when he was murdered in Bergville.[johnwestonaviator.co.uk]
In the front of the Dutch Reformed Church, there is a wall of names which honours Voortrekker settlers in the area.
This statue stands prominently in front of the Dutch Reformed Church. It commemorates the Boer women and children (and also farm workers) who died in the Brandfort concentration camps during the South African War.
Due to a dwindling economy, Brandfort is a ghost town compared to what it was in previous decades. Brandfort was a neat town, known for its good schools, many professional inhabitants and businesses, agricultural co-operations, good community health services, social support structures, quality sport and recreational facilities, caravan park, hotel and water reservoir. The poor maintenance of these facilities is evident; the museums and monuments are deteriorating and no plan currently exists to save them from further decay.
The Admiral John Weston House Museum is under new management and the house is undergoing renovations. It is open to the public and entrance is free of charge. School educationals are held on a regular basis.
The majority of the people are financially supported solely by the government. There are only full-time employment opportunities for about 3% of the people.
The Union Buildings form the official seat of the South African Government and also house the offices of the President of South Africa. The imposing buildings are located in Pretoria, atop Meintjieskop at the northern end of Arcadia, close to historic Church Square and the Voortrekker Monument. The large gardens of the Buildings are nestled between Government Avenue, Vermeulen Street East, Church Street, the R104 and Blackwood Street. Fairview Avenue is a closed road where only officials can enter to the Union Buildings. Though not in the centre of Pretoria, the Union Buildings occupy the highest point of Pretoria, and constitute a South African national heritage site.
Potchefstroom is an academic city in the North West Province of South Africa. It hosts the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University. Potchefstroom is on the Mooi Rivier, roughly 120 km (75 mi) west-southwest of Johannesburg and 45 km (28 mi) east-northeast of Klerksdorp. Potchefstroom, together with Rustenburg, is the second-largest city in the North West Province. The largest city, Klerksdorp, is about 45 kilometres (28 mi) away.
Emily Hobhouse was a British welfare campaigner, feminist, and pacifist. She is primarily remembered for bringing to the attention of the British public, and working to change, the deprived conditions inside the British concentration camps in South Africa built to incarcerate Boer women and children during the Second Boer War.
Kroonstad is the third largest city in the Free State and lies two hours drive on the N1 from Gauteng. Maokeng is an area within Kroonstad, and is occasionally used as a synonym of the town itself. It is the second-largest commercial and urban centre in the Northern Free State, and an important railway junction on the main line from Cape Town to Johannesburg. Maokeng is Sesotho and means "place of the thorn trees ".
Winburg is a small mixed farming town in the Free State province of South Africa.
Heilbron is a small farming town in the Free State province of South Africa which services the cattle, dairy, sorghum, sunflower and maize industries. Raw stock beneficiation occurs in leisure foods, dairy products and stock feeds. It also serves as a dormitory town for the Gauteng metropolis.
Dewetsdorp is a small town in the Free State province of South Africa. The town was set up, without approval of the Volksraad, by field-cornet Jacobus de Wet, father of the Boer War general Christiaan de Wet. Eventually recognized officially, the town became a municipality and named De Wet in 1890. General Christian de Wet successfully attacked English forces stationed there in November 1900.
Philippolis is a small town in the Free State province of South Africa. The writer and intellectual Sir Laurens van der Post was born here. It is regarded as one of the first colonial period settlements in the Free State.
The Constitution Hill precinct is located at 11 Kotze Street in Braamfontein, Johannesburg near the western end of the suburb of Hillbrow. Constitution Hill is the seat of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.
Standerton is a large commercial and agricultural town lying on the banks of the Vaal River in Mpumalanga, South Africa, which specialises in cattle, dairy, maize and poultry farming. The town was established in 1876 and named after Boer leader Commandant A. H. Stander. During the First Boer War a British garrison in the town was besieged by the Boers for three months. General Jan Smuts won this seat during elections and went on to assist in setting up the League of Nations. Standerton is part of the Lekwa Local Municipality.
Suideroord is a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. It is located in Region F of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality.
Anton van Wouw was a Dutch-born sculptor regarded as the father of South African sculpture.
Gerard Leendert Pieter Moerdijk, also known as Gerard Moerdyk, was a South African architect best known for designing the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria.
The National Women's Monument in Bloemfontein, South Africa, is a monument commemorating the suffering of some 27,000 Boer women and children who died in British concentration camps during the Second Boer War. The Monument is a Provincial Heritage Site in the Free State.
The Florisbad archaeological and paleontological site is a provincial heritage site in Brandfort in the Free State province of South Africa. Which houses Florisbad Skull an early hominid skull
Burgersdorp is a medium-sized town in Gariep in the Joe Gqabi District Municipality of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.
John Weston was a South African aeronautical engineer, pioneer aviator, farmer and soldier. He travelled extensively in a motor caravan (RV) that he designed and built himself.
Norvalspont is a small town in Pixley ka Seme District Municipality in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. The name is Afrikaans for Norval’s ferry, and named after an enterprising Scot who constructed a ferry here in 1848. The settlement lies some 40km east-north-east of Colesberg and 43km west-north-west of Venterstad, on the southern bank of the Orange River, just below the Gariep Dam.
The Old Presidency or Ou Presidensie (Afrikaans) is a museum, art gallery and theatre in the city of Bloemfontein, South Africa, located on President Brand Street in the heart of the city. The former residence of the President of the Republic of the Orange Free State from 1886 until 1899 when the city fell to the British Empire during the Second Anglo-Boer War.
The Donkin Heritage Trail is a 5 km self-guided walking trail along the old hill of central Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa. The Donkin Heritage Trail is named after the acting Governor of the Cape Colony, Rufane Shaw Donkin.
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