Most South Africans with a reasonable knowledge of their motherland’s recent history will have heard of Bram Fischer. A substantial percentage of them will certainly be able to mention that he is a struggle hero comparable to the likes of Joe Slovo and Walter Sisulu. Mention the name Molly Fischer, however, and chances are that most people will never have heard of her. She was none other than Bram Fischer’s wife and during her relatively short life (1908-1964) she was as committed to the liberation struggle as her famous husband was.
In 2018 Batho, Bloemfontein’s oldest existing historically-black township or so-called ‘location’, celebrates its centenary. Compared to other South African townships of similar size and age, Batho is no ordinary township because of its rich and colourful history. During the past 100 years much had happened there, most notably on a socio-political level. For example, consider the fact that the well-known founder-member and first speaker of the South African Native National Congress (later ANC), Thomas Mapikela, lived in Batho until his death in 1945.
“The South-Eastern quarter of the town, bounded roughly by the Natal Line and the Cape Line shall be the area where a hygienic Native township shall be developed.” This is how Bloemfontein’s mayor, Mr D.A. Thomson, referred to the Free State capital’s new township in his annual report for 1919–1920.
A Baker garden with a touch of Jekyll: Early history (1903–1905) of the garden at Westminster Estate near Tweespruit, Free State, with special reference to the role played by the Duke of Westminster, Sir Herbert Baker and Gertrude Jekyll
Department of History, National Museum, Bloemfontein, P.O. Box 266, Bloemfontein, 9300, and Research Fellow, Department of History, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein
The story of the Independent Order of True Templars foundation stone in the Batho exhibition
Which drink do you prefer, dear reader, liquor or tea? Making a choice is not always an easy one, but the story behind the Independent Order of True Templars (IOTT) foundation stone in the National Museum’s exhibition on Bloemfontein’s Batho township, is all about making a choice in favour of tea. If you prefer tea, then this story is for you.