Dr Ngaka Modiri Molema District, (Central Region) Mahikeng Capital City History


Mahikeng Capital City - More Sites of Historical Interest

The Magazine

General Sir Charles Warren built an ammunition magazine, which was renovated and the area around it was cleared. It is built of brick and has a heavy steel ceiling and steel-lined door. The door is presently at the Mafikeng Museum. It was built to store guns, ammunition and explosives. Situated near Warrens Fort, The Magazine is just outside the grounds of the North West Police Headquarters on the Vryburg road.

Warren's Fort

The name Warren crops up at a number of Mafikeng's historic sites. Warren's Fort was another structure built by Warren and was a police post to protect the BaRolong, first from attacks by the Goshenites of Rooigrond and later from the Bechuanaland Border Police and the British South African Police (BSAP). During the Siege it was home to about 28 men under Colonel Hore. The fort was captured for one day by Commandant Sarel Eloff, with 200 men, towards the end of the Siege, but the British took it back within a few hours. Building on the fort began in 1 s> 5 and everything remaining, except for the raising of the roof level, is authentic. It has been declared a national monument. The fort is adjacent to the ammunition magazine.

Warren's Well

Warren's Well is a brick-lined structure built in 1885 by Warren's Royal Engineers during the stay of Sir Charles Warren. This well is on the second site, the original being near the riverbed. The water was lifted from the well by a hand-operated pump. A steel cover was put on in 1913 over the railway bridge on the Vryburg Road. Turn left at the first traffic lights and follow the signs.

Women's Laager

This Laager accommodated mainly English women from the town during the siege, while the shelling of the town made it dangerous to stay there. Today, only the site of the Laager can be viewed. It is on the Vryburg Road just before the last big intersection, behind the scrapyard on the right.

Mafikeng Siege Headquarters

Originally a strong, single story building built in 1890. This was Minchin's law office. Colonel Baden-Powell commandeered he building for his headquarters and directed operations from a lookout tower on the roof. On the south west corner of Market Square. Nowadays it is the Bee Gees Boutique.

Concentration Camp Cemeteries

These cemeteries were for those who supported the Boer cause and for the wives of commandos who refused to surrender to the British. One contains 825 marked graves altough the total number of recorded burials is 858. This figure includes 33 burghers who died around Mafikeng during and just after the Siege. Their remains were exhumed from isolated graves and reburied in a mass grave in the larger cemetery in 1934.

A smaller Concentration Camp Cemetry is situated about 800 metres south of the larger cemetry in the Magogoe area (named after the Magogoe stream that runs into the Molopo River). Only four graves with inscriptions are found here. However, 220 marked graves are recorded. A 1949 renovation unearthed up to four corpses in many graves. This strengthens the belief that many black women and children were also buried here, but never recorded. The two graveyards are at Lotlamoreng Dam, two kilometres out of town on the right and left of the Vryburg Road.

Credo Mutwa's Cultural Village

The larger cemetery is at the entrance to Credo Mutwa's Cultural Village, also at Lotlamoreng - a living museum portraying traditional African villages and cultures. Artists work from here and many traditional artworks and sculptures are prepared tor the tourist market. Credo Mutwa, now living in the Free State, is an artist, sculptor, author and prophet of international renown. Many of his prophecies regarding events in South Africa have proved to be uncannily accurate.

Rowland's Graveyard

Another cemetery of much interest is Rowland's, a private graveyard once managed by the Rowland family. The cemetery includes the grave of Christopher Bethell, one of the earliest marked graves in Mafikeng. Bethell was the nephew of Sir Charles Warren. He married into the BaRolong BooraTshidi, was killed in the Battle of Tigele on July 31, 1884 and became known as a hero of the BaRolong. He was originally buried at Rooigrond. Adjacent to the Women's Laager.

Edgar Rowlands House

Rowland was married to a Motswana and established Mafikeng's first water supply trom Lonely Park. He was a close friend of Christopher Bethell. Close to Woman's Laager.

Dr Modiri Molema's home and surgery

Dr Modiri Molema (1891 - 1965) was the son of Silas Molema. He qualified at Glasgow University in Scotland and practiced in Mafikeng. He wrote extensively on the BaRolong Boora-Tshidi and the BaRolong Boora-Tshidi Seleka. Opposite Warren's Well. Follow the signs.

Imperial Reserve

This area of land, first called the Military Reserve, was laid out by General Charles Warren on which to locate military buildings between the old Mahikeng and the new colonial town in 1885. This was a result of a compromise reached where an area of open land would separate Montshoias's town and Mafikeng from Montshoia to Makana (Kanon Kopje). From 1895 to 1966 the Imperial Reserve area was the administrative capital of the Bechuanaland Protectorate (Botswana), but uniquely, situated outside the country's borders. It therefore remained a colonial enclave in South Africa. Just off the Vryburg road and again adjacent to the Police Headquarters.

Kgotla of the BaRolong Boora -Tshidi

This tribal meeting place of Chief Montshoia has been in continuous use since the 1850s and contains a monument to the BaRolong who died in action during the Mafikeng Siege. An engraving of the BaRolong totem, the Tholo (Kudu) is found at the top of this memorial. A monument to chief Besele Montshioa was unveiled on October 10, 1999. On the Vryburg road on the opposite side to Police Headquarters.

Maratiwa House

The house was built by Silas Molema, son of the founder of Mahikeng, who also built the firts school in the area in 1878. The Molema family is the most prominent family after that of the chief. Sol Plaatje occupied the house during the siege. He was a writer, scholar, journalist and politician. An American researcher, John Comaroff, visiting the the house in 1969, found Sol Plaatje's diary. Take the Vryburg road, just past the Police Headquarters there is a brick road (The Prince of Wales Road) on your left. About 400 metres along this road you will find Maratiwa, a large house on your left.

Seweding or Seoding

This is the piece of land on which Sol Plaatie lived after he and his wife Elizabeth left Maratiwa in 1910. The remains of his house, well, kraal and pepper trees planted by him can still be seen. Turn right at the last large intersection on the Vryburg Road towards Disaneng. About 100m on this road.

Sol Plaatjes Newspaper Office

This is the site of Plaatje's office and printing works for "Koranta ea Bechuana", from 1902 to 1910. This protest newspaper was edited by Plaatje and financed by Silas Molema. Spencer Minchin later took the editorial chair. It is now the Provincial ANC office. Just off the corner of Wain and Warren streets.

Spencer Minchin's House

Built in 1890 by Spencer Minchin, the lawyer. His was the first legal firm to be established in Mafeking and he was a lifelong advisor to the BaRolong Boora-Tshidi. The family is honoured for delaying the implementation of the Group Areas Act during the Apartheid era and for its refusal to move from their home in the tribal area when the Act came into being. It is opposite Warren's Well.

Mahikeng Stadt Primary School

Silas Molema established this school for local BaRolong Boora-Tshidi children in 1878. He was the first principal. An existing camel thorn tree and the school bell marks the spot of the original school. Turn left at the first traffic intersection on the Vryburg Road. Follow the signs.

The Old Fingo Village

Nearby is the Old Fingo Village, "Makwateng," the first native settlement or location for black people before the building of the Montshioia location. It is situated underneath Kanon Kopje at the approximate site of the present Tourist Information and Development Centre, towards the opposite side of the road.

The Old Methodist Church

Still in use today, it was built in 1885 in the original tribal town of Mahikeng by General Sir Charles Warren's military expedition under the direction of Colonel Durnford. They replaced an earlier chapel destroyed in the Bechuanaland War. Three foundation stones were laid by Chief Montshioa, other Chiefs of the Barolong and Warren. Close to the Kgotla - opposite to the Police Headquarters.

The Moshoeshoe graves

The graves of Philemon Mahlelebe Moshoeshoe and his wife, Margaret, nee Gwabeni. He was a Mosotho, a grandson of King Moshoeshoe and a friend of Sol Plaatje. He was formerly with the Basotho Mounted Police before becoming a warden and a turnkey at the Mafikeng gaol. After his wife's death, he married Sebapi, the daughter of chief Besele 1. A piece of land was allocated to him at Ramosadi village. Other graves are those of the Gwabeni and Gape families, the latter being the family of his son-in-law.

Maphatswa Cemetery

Most of the BaRolong people who were killed and died of either wounds, starvation or disease during the Siege and the Anglo-Boer War /South African War, were buried here. It is considered to be one of only a few authentic grave sites in the area where black people were buried. It is estimated there are approximately 500 unmarked graves at this site. The cemetery is situated on the Vryburg Road as you turn right at the last traffic light.

Molema Cemetery

The Molema families are among local historical families buried here. The Molemas are today the most prominent family after the chief. Silas Molema, son of the founder of Mahikeng, is also buried here. NearSeweding. /p>

South African Wars Monument

The monument of reconciliation and nation building was unvieled by deputy president Jacob Zuma on October 10, 1999 in a special centenary commemoration of the Anglo-Boer War /South African War of 1899 - 1902

Follow the signs from the Prince of Waes Road.

Monument of Democracy and Peace

This monument was built in memory of 60 people who died and the many others who were injured during the 1991 ousting of the Bophuthatswana Government. Situated in the Botanical Gardens near Garona.

Steam railways

For many years Mafikeng was a railway enthusiast's dream. It was one of the last towns in the world where steam engines could be seen in daily operation. One of these locomotives now holds pnde of place outside the museum and the people of the town still talk of the feat of engineering ingenuity required to move the loco from the station to the grounds of the museum.

The Anglican Church (St John's)

Was built to commemorate the siege. It was constructed of Lobatsi brick for about R50 000 in today's prices. Sir Herbert Baker, one of the architects of the church was also responsible for the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Its architectural style is Gothic and the foundation stone, laid the same day as that of the Town Hall reads "To the glorv of God and in memory of those who died during the Siege of Mafikeng, and as an act of thanksgiving for the Relief of the town." It also commemorates the coronation of King George VI. There are three windows in the sanctuary with the predominant colour being red. The central one represents Christ enthroned in Glory; that on the north side, St. Michael holding the scales and the sword and on the south side, St. George and the Dragon.

The roof carving is a beautiful work of art from Oberammergau in Bavaria and was presented by the architects. The figure was stained at a later date after the original flesh colour caused considerable consternation among the congregation. Public outcry later saw the figure returned to its original colour. In the niche of the south side of the Sanctuary is the font which at one time stood in the Old Church. The front is marble and is inscribed; "part of an old beam from the roof of St. German's Church, Cornwall, at least 500 years old". Tragedy struck on July 3 1984 when the church was gutted by fire. It has since been restored. The church stands diagonally opposite the museum.

NG Church

Established in 1892 on the corner of Martin and Robinson Streets. The church was used to keep prisoners of war. It later became badly damaged and services continued in neighbouring buildings. The present church hall was built in 1916 and was initially used as the church itself. In 1960 the present building opposite the old church was occupied and is in use today.

Commissioner Place

and part or the new. This stone-fronted house Commissioner Place complex, was the official residence of the Commissioner of the Bechuanaland Protectorate until 1966. Sir Sydney Shippard was the first Administrator of British Bechuanaland. The building is on the comer of Victoria and Carrington Streets.

The Mother and Child monument

Erected for the Burghers, women and children who died in the Anglo-Boer/South African War, it was unveiled in May 1935. It is in the gardens of the Church Hall on the corner of Nelson Mandela Drive and Martin Street.

The Mafikeng Prison

In November 1901, five Burghers were convicted by the military court of I murdering black people during the siege. Two of them, Arnoldus Renike, a Cape rebel and Louis Brink from the Mafikeng district, were hanged in public on December 28 1901. Both maintained they acted on instruction from their commander, General JLP Snyman that anyone rustling cattle should be shot. The other three were given life sentences. After the war these two were reburied in a mass grave, together with 31 other Burghers in the Concentration Camp cemetery in acknowledgement of the fact that they were soldiers executing their duties. The prison is near the Siege Cemetery in Carringum Street.

The Mafikeng Cemetery

the 5 Some of the most fascinating sites of the Siege me ID be found at the Mafikeng Cemetery. TWi ¦Jii n i and IIIJUM graves of Siege casualties, include that of a boy, Frank* Brown, who was nine-years-old and the r^T1** of BJen P^cll> cadets. He was killed bfa shdL The j or Captain Andrew Beauchamp-ftocioc. the i decorated ainnan oi the First ^brid^br b also to be found here Hewonthe\CDSO,MC«JBarandtheDFCm the Royal riving Corps. His portrait and the targe bronac eagle that originally surmounted his tombstone are to be seen in the museum. Another section or the cemetery sees a row of Balkan crosses placed close together. These weaeflW sokbrrs who were killed on December 26 1899 when the Boer Game Tree Fort was attacked. The cemetry is on Carrington Street, totuinhaVcinhifiidj

Victoria Hospital

The Cape government donated £50C from the Victorian Jubilee Fund for the erection of the building. Like all hospitals funded from the Jubilee fund, it had to be named Victoria. The hospital is found rtJjrmet to Game Shopping a nnplix ai\d St. Joseph's Goaacru.

The Mail

During the Siege, The Mail newspaper published news every day, except one. This newspaper is still in existence uxiay as a weekly publication.

St. Joseph's Convent

One section of the cemetery is devoted to the nuns of St. Joseph's Convent (Theresa House) which was built in 1899. It was home to the Sisters of Mercy. These mainly Irish sisters played a valuable role during the Siege even though the convent was being shelled. It became a school, St. Joseph's, and during the election of 1994, was headquarters of the Independent Electoral Commission. It is adjacent to the Game shopping complex on the Nelson Mandela Highway.