Vryburg, Bophirima Region

Vryburg lies on the N14, due West of the Towns of Klerksdorp and Orkney - as in 'Orkney Snork Nie' (Orkney doesn't snore) the popular Afrikaans toilet humour television sitcom of the early 1990s with an inherent message that the town is not as sleepy as it sounds. Thus not too far from Johannesburg, Vryburg is a large(ish) Town that finds itself in the heart of Cattle Farming Country, in what is now known as the Bophirima Region.
 
Surprisingly, given that so many name changes have occurred within the Country since 1994, Vryburg, which means 'free fort' in Afrikaans, has maintained its name despite its Historical Significance. Way back in 1882 this Area was part of the proclaimed Republic of Stellaland and its citizens regarded themselves as 'free'. The Republic was a Boer Republic that, though small, played a pivotal role in the conflict between the British Empire and the South African Republic. Interestingly, and a complete aside, the Republic was named Stellaland, after a comet apparently visible in the sky at the time.
There is still this sense of History in Vryburg, which boasts a couple of National Monuments including: A stone church built in 1904 by the London Missionary Station; The museum is also worth a visit; Other well-preserved old buildings manage to blend with the more modern architecture that dominates. Whilst Vryburg receives many a Visitor because of the Town's situation on the Main Railway Line between Cape Town and Botswana, and its position on the N14, which runs across Gauteng and links up with Springbok in the Northern Cape.
Other attractions in the area include: a Golf Course; A Concentration Ccamp Cemetry; An annual Agricultural Show, the Leon Taljaard Nature Reserve and Rock Engravings at Kinderdam,(half way between Vryburg and Madibogo.)
 
The Church Of England Renovated this huge Mission abandoned in 1948 by the London Missionary Society, which is characterised by its pretty Buildings with Pinnacles and its shiny Tiles. The Pastors were to have the homesickness since they Built; a Tower of London in miniature. On a Plateau, you can read: "This clock was given by Khama, the chef of Bamangwato, in 1906." Easy access to R47 Kimberley; the Mission is a few kilometres from Vryburg, on the Left of the Road.
The Old Police Station is probably the Earliest remaining Building in Vryburg, and almost Intact an example of an early humble Public Building, erected at the time that the Town was established. The Building was sold to MC Genis, the Magistrate of the Boer.
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Last updated : 30-Jan-2019

This article was produced by South African History Online on 30-Jan-2019

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