Towns

Dewetsdorp 

Location

Dewetsdorp lies 75 km south-east of Bloemfontein on the R702 and the town’s geographical area is approximately 2511.43 km2.

History

The town is named after the father of the Anglo-Boer War General C R de Wet. It was laid out on the farm Kareefontein and was proclaimed a municipality in 1890.The town of Dewetsdorp is named after the father of the Anglo-Boer War General C.R. de Wet. During the Anglo-Boer War the town was occupied by a British garrison after Bloemfontein had fallen. On 19 November 1900 General Christiaan de Wet attacked the garrison commanded by major W.G. Massy, who surrendered four days later.

Attractions

The town is part of the Battlefields Route. One attraction is the British War Graves and Monument. The British Monument and War Graves lie on a hill at the entrance of the town from Bloemfontein and was erected in honour of the British soldiers who died during the Anglo Boer war.The Centenary Festival Monument in front of the town hall was erected in 1938 to commemorate the centenary of the Great Trek. The Twins Memorial was erected in the grounds of the Dutch Reformed Church in honour of a set of twins who both lost their lives during the Anglo-Boer War. There are also war graves of British soldiers in the English cemetery.

The Morojaneng Ethopian church has its own unique architecture and old history.The town has a beautiful 9-hole golf course.  Dewetsdorp is the home of the OSRAM Total Car rally which is held annually in August. There are various hunting farms in the district. The Red Hill Hiking Trail is also a popular tourist attraction.

VanStadensrus

Location

Van Stadensrus is located 29 km from Wepener and 39 km north of Zastron and is one of the frontier towns on the border of South Africa and Lesotho.

History

It is a relatively young town which was proclaimed only in 1925.  The town was established in 1920 and was named after the founder Mr. M H van Staden who owned the farm Mook on which the town was built. He also built the nearby Egmeni or Egmont Dam.

Service Delivery

The Free State provincial government and the Naledi Local Municipality have targeted Vanstadensrus as one of the localities where the Operation Hlasela-philosophy has been put into action. As a result, the building of 100 houses (measuring 50sqr meters each containing bathroom with bath, basin and toilet) in the small rural community is at final completion stage. Three different types of houses are built for the community.In addition, 700m of the Marthinus Road has been tarred, a pedestrian walkway next to the road has been paved and side drainage is at completion stage. Significant progress has been made to complete the internal roads of 1400m and the leveling of kerbs. The upgrade of sport facilities and construction of hard courts are also in progress.

Pedestrian Walk at Marthinus Road, Vanstadensrus

Wepener 

Location

Situated on the banks of the Jammersberg River, the frontier town of Wepener is mainly an agricultural and trading centre for this part of the Free State Province. It is the gateway to the town of Mafeteng in Lesotho with the Van Rooyen border gate just seven kilometers from the centre of the town. The Welbedacht and Knelpoort Dams are found on the outskirts of the town.

Social and Economic Functions 

The town is a commercial center for a 1,725 square km district where mixed farming is practiced. Crops include cattle and sheep ranching, dairying, wheat and maize.

History

The town was founded in 1867 on the banks of Jammersbergspruit, a tributary of the Caledon River, and named for Louw Wepener who was killed in 1865 while trying to storm Moshweshwe’s stronghold of Thaba-Bosiu in the Free State’s second war against the Basotho.Wepener was the southern most of several settlements founded by the Free Stater’s in the ‘conquered territories’ to prevent the Basotho from resettling the land taken from them during the war of 1865.

During the Anglo-Boer War a British garrison of 2000 men under Col EH Dalgety was attacked by General Christiaan de Wet at Jammersdrift on the Caledon River. The siege lasted 17 days – until reinforcements arrived on 25 April 1900 to end the battle in favor of the British.

Attractions

Wepener’s Memorial Gates and statue of Cmdt Louw Wepener in front of the City Hall and the Memorial Gate at the northern side of the Town Hall bearing names of soldiers who died in World War 2 bear testimony to the many battles, raids and skirmishes that are inherently part of the Wepener district’s past.

Other Attractions

  • San Rock art can be viewed on Ventershoek Farm.
  • Louw Wepener statue in front of Wepener City Hall
  • Thaba Bosiu Memorial stone at the entrance of the City hall
  • The sandstone Dutch Reformed Church, in Kerk Street
  • The sandstone street bridge [Jammersberg Bridge] over the Caledon River has been declared a national monument.