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Submit an article to Indago - a peer reviewed journal
Submit an article to Indago - a peer reviewed journal
Submit an article to Indago - a peer reviewed journal
Author

Derek du Bruyn

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Abstract

In 1918, Batho was founded as one of South Africa’s first so-called “model locations”. In addition to sound town planning and layout, brick houses, and public amenities, Batho also became known for its “generous” plots or “garden areas of 50 ft. by 75 ft.” and the ornamental front gardens that were laid out on them. The Bloemfontein municipality’s decision to provide residents with “garden areas” was motivated by a number of reasons, most of which were of a political nature and embedded in the segregationist ideology of the time.

Abstract

When Mangaung’s old Waaihoek location was gradually demolished between 1918 and 1941 and its residents were relocated to the new Batho location, an embryonic gardening culture was also transferred there. The Municipality of Bloemfontein’s mostly English-speaking officials envisaged Batho as a “model location” with an “exemplary” layout which provided for individual stands big enough to lay out gardens. Batho became known as a “garden location” because of the English-style gardens that were subsequently laid out and the gardening culture that emerged among mostly middle-class residents. During the period 1918 to 1939, Batho’s gardening culture developed, became established, and then flourished due to the residents’ own efforts, as well as initiatives taken by key municipal officials and councillors.

During its relatively short history Bloemfontein hosted a surprising number of royal visitors. In August 1860 the 16-year-old Prince Alfred, second son of Queen Victoria, visited Bloemfontein with the Governor of the Cape Colony, Sir George Grey. In May 1925 the British Crown Prince, also known as the Prince of Wales and later Edward VIII, visited Bloemfontein for two days as part of his South African tour, and in February 1934 his brother Prince George (later the Duke of Kent), fourth eldest son of King George V, also paid a two-day-visit to the capital.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (1936–2018) in front of her banishment house in Brandfort’s Majwemasweu township, c. late 1970s. (Photo: South African History Online)

The Soweto uprisings of 16 June 1976 have become firmly entrenched in South African popular memory. However, the school boycotts that happened in Mangaung (Bloemfontein) in the aftermath of the Soweto unrest are neither well-known nor well-documented. This article briefly discusses the Mangaung riots of 1976, 1977 and 1980. In addition, the article provides contextual historical information to explain the main causes of the unrest.

Image 1: An aerial photograph of Oliewenhuis shows the garden’s formal layout with the main garden path as focal point, c. 1990s. (Photo: Oliewenhuis Art Museum)

The style and design of a garden often determine how it is experienced and appreciated by humans. Informal landscape gardens are best enjoyed by wandering around and exploring them serendipitously. In these gardens elements such as colour, texture, scent and sound stimulate the senses.