Towns

Theunissen / Masilo

The town is situated 11 kilometer north of the Vet River and 102 kilometer north–east of Bloemfontein, in the Free State Province South Africa. It was laid out in 1907 on the farms Smaldeel and a portion of Poortjie and attained municipal status in 1912. At first the town was known as Smaldeel, later was renamed after Commandant Helgaart Theunissen who obtained permission for its establishment. The town has a wine estate, the Theunissen Wine Farm and 3 mines, namely the Joel Mine, Beatrix and Star Diamond mine

Brandfort / Masjwemasweu

The town is situated 56 km north-east of Bloemfontein and 115 km south-west of Winburg. It was established on the farm Keerom on the 30 October 1866 by Jacobus van Zilj and after he established a church, he invited President J.H. Brand, the fourth President of The Republic to visit the community, shortly afterwards the town was named in his honour. The town was proclaimed in 1874 and municipal status was achieved in 1884. It is sometime claimed that the town was so called because a fort on the nearby Keeromkoppie was burnt down by San or Basotho. The British built a concentration camp here during the Boer War to house women and children.

Winburg / Makeleketla

The town is situated 116 km north-east of Bloemfontein and 51 km south-west of Ventersburg along the N1 Highway which links Cape Town to Johannesburg and it is in the centre between the Orange and Vaal rivers. It was established on the farm Waaifontein in 1841 and it was proclaimed a town in 1837 and became a municipality in 1872. The name Winburg, originally spelt Wenburg, means “town of winning”. This may refer to a military victory over the Matebele at Mosega on 17 January 1837, or to the triumph of the protagonists of Waaifontein as site of the town.

The other nearest community was that of a Tswana tribe under Chief Makwana at Thaba Nchu, 60 km south-east of the town and the Basotho tribes in the mountains of the current Lesotho, 100 km east of the town. The trade of cattle for land between the Vaal and Vet Rivers, undertaken by Andries Pretorius and the Bataung Chief Makwana in 1836, led to the settlement of a dispute between the black tribes. Winburg acted as settlement and religious centre and it was originally selected for the main Voortrekker Monument but Pretoria won favour and a five tiered secondary Voortrekker(settler)monument was built on the outskirts of Winburg instead, in the 1950’s, it carries the names of
the Voortrekker (settler) leaders: Uys, Potgieter, Pretorius, Retief and Maritz.

Verkeerdevlei / Tshepong

The town is situated 39 km south-east of Brandfort. The name Verkeerdevlei originates from the Afrikaans word which means “wrong marsh”, the name probably refers to an east-west flow of water in an area where the direction is normally west-east.

Soutpan / Ikgomotseng

The town is situated 45 km west of Brandfort. Soutpan is an Afrikaans word meaning “salt pan” or “depression” in English. The name is derived from a large geographical feature of that type, on the slopes of which the Florisbad archaeological site is situated.The Florisbad National Quaternary Research Station is located at Soutpan. This is where the first human skull was discovered 2059 years ago. This discovery prompted the scientific expedition in the 1930’s. This research station was established by Prof. T.F. Dreyer and a gentleman by the name of Willem Boer Venter in 1932. This facility is currently a national research station. The research station has chalets for visiting international scientists and students, as well as an entertainment area.