Botshabelo [ bots ɑbelɔ ʰ ] ( Sesotho, dt: " Refuge" ) is a city in the South African province of the Free State. It is located in the metropolitan municipality of Mangaung. Despite its high population Botshabelo is found only on a few maps.


Botshabelo has 181 712 inhabitants ( 2011 census ). The city is located about 50 kilometers east of Bloemfontein south of the National Road N8, which leads to Maseru in Lesotho. The population consists mainly of Basotho and Xhosa.

Botshabelo is located in the usually quite flat, treeless South African Highveld at around 1400 meters above sea level.

A few kilometers east of the town of Thaba Nchu is Botshabelo.


In the wake of apartheid, the bearing Kromdraai in 1976 near Thaba Nchu founded as a settlement for blacks. The area came in 1977 to the former Bophuthatswana homeland, which was intended as a place of residence for Batswana so that the resident Basotho and Xhosa had to find a new home. In 1979, the camp was broken up by police Bophuthatswanas. The then Prime Minister of around 200 kilometers away Basotho Homelands QwaQwa, Tsiame Kenneth Mopeli, organized an area on the territory of the former farm Onverwacht, west of belonging to Bophuthatswana region, where the new township was built. Around 1980 the name Botshabelo came into use for the settlement. The Township has been to Soweto, the second largest of its kind in South Africa. Botshabelo was incorporated on December 3, 1987 against the will of the majority of its inhabitants after QwaQwa, whereby its population roughly doubled. 1994 QwaQwa was dissolved. Botshabelo in 2000 became part of the municipality of Mangaung.

The shantytown Onverwacht gained because of their extremely scandalous living conditions in the 1980s in Germany and abroad attention. This was based on the fact that the inhabitants of some relocation sites, including this one, were in no area of ​​responsibility of Chiefs and Homeland Governments or the "white" native administration did not feel responsible. Thus there was no right to the establishment and use of communal land, which would have meant the possibility of simple livelihood for residents. The disastrous living conditions at this location gave rise to speak even in publications during the apartheid system about it.

2011 came to the metropolitan municipality of Mangaung Botshabelo.

Economy and Transport

Botshabelo is since its founding a town for blacks who work in Bloemfontein. Since then, there have been around 140 factories located mainly in the textile processing. The city is located in spite of their high population away from the major traffic routes. To the north runs in an East - West direction, the National Road N8 and the railway line Bloemfontein - Bethlehem, which is scheduled only operated in freight traffic.


  • Southwest of the city lie the reservoir Rustfontein Dam and Nature Reserve Rustfontein Nature Reserve.


  • A museum village of the Ndebele in the province of Mpumalanga and a project to support AIDS sufferers in Midrand in the Gauteng province also called Botshabelo.