The sixth largest city in South Africa, Mangaung/Bloemfontein was occupied by Chief Yoruka and the Barolong tribe in the early 1800s and also became home to Chief Moshoeshoe and the Basotho tribe. The area in around the city thus became a fort of sorts for the tribes who were seeking distance between themselves and the Zulu king, Shaka Zulu. A rich past, indeed!
The name Mangaung in SeSotho, one of South Africa’s 11 official languages stands for “A Place of Cheetahs”. The city was also named Bloemfontein (Dutch) after taking into consideration the myriad roses that grew around a fountain on a farm owned by Johannes Nicolaas Brit, a Dutch settler.
Mangaung/Bloemfontein is home to the Appeal Court, South Africa’s highest court. The city boasts of an inner game reserve and has a stupendous sandstone building which acts as the city hall. Apart from these iconic buildings the city is also speckled with architectural marvels, monuments and museums. The people who call the city home are warm, friendly and nonintrusive.
As mentioned before, Mangaung/Bloemfontein ‘plays host’ or is home to some of South Africa’s most loyal football fans. You can safely declare that these fans will come out in full strength to support their country at the FIFA 2010 World Cup tournament. Their enthusiasm, infectious energy, wild singing and over-the-top celebrations can be directly linked to fanatical European football fans. Football is more than just a game here.
The most popular and accepted team in Mangaung/Bloemfontein is a team which goes by the name Bloemfontein Celtic. The team in a way was put together keeping in mind the Scottish side, Celtic. Bloemfontein Celtic’s playing kit with green and white horizontal stripes can be easily mistaken for the uniform of the Scottish team, Celtic. Not a mere coincidence, that’s for sure. The fans of Bloemfontein Celtic all over Mangaung/Bloemfontein and South Africa are known as Siwelele. Other famous clubs include the Carara Kicks (1st Division) and Free State Stars (Premier League).