BOTHAVILLE’S HISTORY

The area of present-day Bothaville was originally inhabited by Bushmen, while the Leghoyo Tswana tribe also settled in the area between the 15th and 17th century. White settlers took up permanent residence here in 1852.

Bothaville has a proud history, which dates back to 1891, when Bothaville was established as a so-called Church town. It was only on 1 June 1893 that the name Bothaville was officially confirmed by the then Free State People’s Assembly, after an attempt from the Johannes Rust group to establish Overwinning as a town was averted.

The first justice of peace was PCJ Hauptfleisch, while in 1894 ACN Preller was elected the first chairperson of the town council.

In 1894 a three-room sandstone building in President Street was erected for the amount of £62 to serve as police station and prison. In 1898 the Dutch Reformed parsonage, a beautiful sandstone building, was built.

Self-sustaining agricultural activities such as grain farming, stock farming, dairy production, bee-keeping, etc began to take root in the area. It was, however, maize production for which Bothaville became renowned throughout the years.

On 6 November 1900, during the Anglo-Boer War, the Battle of Doornkraal took place close to where Bothaville is located today. It was the scene of a rare defeat suffered by Boer general Christiaan de Wet and his commando at the hands of British mounted infantry forces. The Doornkraal Monument still stands today as a memorial site in honour of Boers who died during that surprise attack.

In 1912 the town received its first telephone exchange service. In 1913 the impressive sandstone Dutch Reformed church, designed by the famous architect, Gerhard Moerdyk, was built.

In 1913 Bothaville received municipal status and this opened the way for the town to develop during the 20th century into the commercial centre for the surrounding district. The fast growing and blooming economy of the Free State Goldfields around Welkom, about 70 km south east of Bothaville, during the second half of the 20th century, provided an indirect boost to the local economy of Bothaville.

In 1939 the local aerodrome was inaugurated. The graceful town hall dates back to 1951, having been declared as a historical heritage building in 1995.

In 1995 at a tourism seminar, the then mayor, Ms Ray Brink, officially declared Bothaville as the Maize Capital of South Africa. At the same time the Maize Capital Tourism Forum (MCTF) was established, with its name changed in 2003 to the Maize Capital Forum (MCF) and then in 2011 to Bothaville Info.

Bothaville Info has undertaken a variety of successful projects, like the Guesthouse Project, a Diary of Social Activities and the Country Meander Tourism Route amongst others.