|• Total||36.85 km2 (14.23 sq mi)|
|• Density||280/km2 (730/sq mi)|
|Racial makeup (2011)|
|• Black African||74.0%|
|First languages (2011)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (SAST)|
|Postal code (street)|
Koffiefontein is a small farming town in the Free State province of South Africa. The name means coffee fountain in Afrikaans.
In the 1800s, Koffiefontein was a stopover spot for transport riders traveling between the coast and the diamond fields and gold mines to the north. "Coffee fountain" is a reference to the strong coffee brew transport riders made during their stopover. "Coffee fountain" involved transport riders grinding their own coffee beans (often with a spoon) and using the water of a natural spring to boil for the brew. Upon the discovery of diamonds near the natural spring in 1870, a town quickly developed at the Koffiefontein stopover spot, as prospectors began to mine the area in search of high quality diamonds.
Koffiefontein's proximity to Mafikeng and Kimberley meant that it became involved in the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). Blockhouses, which served as defensive fortresses, were erected by the British in 1900 and are still standing in the twenty-first century.
The Koffiefontein district saw much military action during the Second Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 because it was close to the two strategic towns of Kimberley and Mafeking. After Boer forces under the command of General Brand and Commandant Hertzog attacked the town and its mine, several blockhouses were erected by the British in October 1900. The blockhouses were involved in actions in the subsequent months and at one point the town was looted by the Boers and the people of the town took refuge in the mine.
During the Second World War a large internment camp was opened in the town, with 2,000 Italian prisoners of war, some German prisoners of war, and some 800 South African internees, who were suspected of being pro-Nazi. Among the internees was F.C Erasmus and John Vorster who became prime minister of South Africa in 1966 and was president of the country from 1978 to 1979.The remains of murals painted by the Italian POWs can still be viewed in the town as can the barracks in which they were held.
Farming in the district focuses on cattle and sheep farming with lucerne, potatoes and ground nuts being the main crops sown. There used to be a cheese factory and vineyards in the town. The Kalkfontein Dam on the Riet river provides water for the towns of Jacobsdal and Koffiefontein.
The area was a coffee stop for many transport riders in the 19th century until one of the riders discovered a diamond, and a town grew rapidly. The diamonds of Koffiefontein were known to be of the "first water"; meaning of very good clarity.The diamond mine established by De Beers in 1870 was closed down in 2006. The mine was then acquired by Petra Diamonds in 2007 and is currently still in operation. Although the mine and supporting businesses have employed a large number of the local population, the area is still characterised by poverty. Census data indicate that 57% of the Koffiefontein population are below the poverty line.
Apart from diamonds the town is best known as having been the home of Etienne Leroux, a famous Afrikaans novelist whose homestead and grave can be visited. There are also many Bushman (San) paintings in the district.To commemorate the allusion to the coffee drinking tradition of the transport riders in the name of the town, there is a fountain that resembles a coffee pot pouring out a drink.
A First World War Monument is situated opposite the golf course in the town, on a tiny hill behind the school. There is a cannon next to the monument. To date the wall murals by Fascio, an Italian inmate of the concentration camp are still on display.
The Second Boer War was fought between the British Empire and two independent Boer states, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, over the Empire's influence in South Africa. The trigger of the war was the discovery of diamonds and gold in the Boer states. It is also known variously as the Boer War, Anglo-Boer War, or South African War. Initial Boer attacks were successful, and although British reinforcements later reversed these, the war continued for years with Boer guerrilla warfare, until harsh British counter-measures including a scorched earth policy brought the Boers to terms.
De Beers Group is an international corporation that specialises in diamond exploitation, diamond mining, diamond retail, diamond trading and industrial diamond manufacturing sectors. The company is currently active in open-pit, large-scale alluvial, coastal and deep sea mining. It operates in 35 countries and mining takes place in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Canada and Australia. From its inception in 1888 until the start of the 21st century, De Beers controlled 80% to 85% of rough diamond distribution and was accused of being a monopoly. Competition has since dismantled the complete monopoly, though the De Beers Group still sells approximately 35% of the world's rough diamond production through its global sightholder and auction sales businesses.
Kimberley is the capital and largest city of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. It is located approximately 110 km east of the confluence of the Vaal and Orange Rivers. The city has considerable historical significance due to its diamond mining past and the siege during the Second Anglo-Boer war. British businessmen Cecil Rhodes and Barney Barnato made their fortunes in Kimberley, and Rhodes established the De Beers diamond company in the early days of the mining town.
Vereeniging is a city located in the south of Gauteng province, South Africa, situated where the Klip River empties into the northern loop of the Vaal River. It is also one of the constituent parts of the Vaal Triangle region and was formerly situated in the Transvaal province. The name Vereeniging is derived from the Dutch word meaning "association" or "union".
Harrismith is a large town in the Free State province of South Africa. It was named for Sir Harry Smith, a 19th-century British governor and high commissioner of the Cape Colony. It is situated by the Wilge River, alongside the N3 highway, about midway between Johannesburg, about 300 km to the northwest, and Durban to the southeast.
Jacobsdal is a small farming town in the Free State province of South Africa with various crops under irrigation, such as grapes, potatoes, lucerne and groundnuts. The town was layout in 1859 by Christoffel Jacobs on his farm Kalkfontein, and today houses 6,500 inhabitants.
Jagersfontein is a small town in the Free State province of South Africa. The original farm on which the town stands was once the property of a Griqua Jacobus Jagers, hence the name Jagersfontein. He sold the farm to C.F. Visser in 1854. A diamond rush started in 1870 after farmer J.J. de Klerk found a 50 carat diamond. This was about three years before diamonds were discovered 130 km away at Kimberley.
Springfontein is a small mixed farming town in the Free State province of South Africa.
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Wolmaransstad is a maize-farming town situated on the N12 between Johannesburg and Kimberley in North West Province of South Africa. The town lies in an important alluvial diamond-mining area and it is the main town of the Maquassi Hills Local Municipality.
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The Big Hole, Open Mine, Kimberley Mine or Tim Kuilmine is an open-pit and underground mine in Kimberley, South Africa, and claimed to be the deepest hole excavated by hand, although this claim is disputed.
Springbok is the largest town in the Namaqualand area in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. It was called Springbokfontein until 1911, when it was shortened to Springbok. Springbok is located on the N7 national route which connects the Cape with Namibia, and at the western end of the N14, which connects it with Upington and Pretoria. It is the main town of the Nama Khoi Local Municipality, which also includes a number of surrounding towns such as Okiep and Nababeep.
The Mineral Revolution is a term used by historians to refer to the rapid industrialisation and economic changes which occurred in South Africa from the 1870s onwards. The Mineral Revolution was largely driven by the need to create a permanent workforce to work in the mining industry, and saw South Africa transformed from a patchwork of agrarian states to a unified, industrial nation. In political terms, the Mineral Revolution had a significant impact on diplomacy and military affairs. Finally, the policies and events of the Mineral Revolution had an increasingly negative impact on race relations in South Africa, and formed the basis of the apartheid system, which dominated South African society for a century.
Koffiefontein Mine is a diamond mine situated in the Free State province, about 80 km from Kimberley, South Africa. It is one of the many Kimberley mines of which Kimberley mine, de Beers mine, Dutoitspan, Bultfontein and Wesselton are its more famous neighbours.
The Siege of Kimberley took place during the Second Boer War at Kimberley, Cape Colony, when Boer forces from the Orange Free State and the Transvaal besieged the diamond mining town. The Boers moved quickly to try to capture the area when war broke out between the British and the two Boer republics in October 1899. The town was ill-prepared, but the defenders organised an energetic and effective improvised defence that was able to prevent it from being taken.
Ethnic, political and social tensions among European colonial powers, indigenous Africans, and English and Dutch settlers led to open conflict in a series of wars and revolts between 1879 and 1915 that would have lasting repercussions on the entire region of southern Africa. Pursuit of commercial empire as well as individual aspirations, especially after the discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886), were key factors driving these developments.
Petra Diamonds Ltd is a diamond mining group headquartered in Jersey. It has a diversified portfolio, with interests in eight producing mines in South Africa and Tanzania and an exploration programme in Botswana. Petra Diamonds' focus has shifted from exploration to production, becoming one of the largest independent producers of diamonds in Africa. In June 2012, Petra owns 5 of the world's most productive mines historically. These mines include the Cullinan Diamond Mine famed for having produced the world's largest rough and polished diamond. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
George Labram was an American engineer employed as Chief Mechanical Engineer at the De Beers diamond mines in Kimberley during the Siege of Kimberley.
Long Cecil is a single cannon, designed by George Labram, an American citizen, and built in the workshops of the De Beers mining company in Kimberley for use by the British during the Siege of Kimberley in the Second Boer War.
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