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Mafikeng Museum

  • The Museum is housed in the former Old Town Hall that was built in 1902. This ornate building dominated the centre of the town during its early years. With its impressive steel ceiling, old town clock and elaborate architectural style, the museum its
The Museum is housed in the former Old Town Hall that was built in 1902. This ornate building dominated the centre of the town during its early years. With its impressive steel ceiling, old town clock & elaborate architectural style, the museum its  © South African Tourism(License)

Mafikeng Museum

Mahikeng (formerly, and still commonly, known as Mafikeng) is the capital of the North West Province of South Africa and it is a cultural jewel. It offers so much to visitors in terms of fascinating history, culture and hospitality. For historians, archaeologists, casual visitors, and nature enthusiasts alike, Mahikeng proudly fills its corner of the North West Province.

And in saying this, a good place to start your tour of Mahikeng is at the Museum, situated in Martin Street. The displays are superb, and the curator holds the keys to a number of historical sites around the town. The Museum is housed in the former Old Town Hall that was built in 1902. This ornate building dominated the centre of the town during its early years. With its impressive steel ceiling, old town clock and elaborate architectural style, the museum itself deserves a visit.

Standing proudly outside the museum is a 6-H class steam locomotive, which weighs in at over 90 tons. Its tender was constructed in Scotland in 1901. This locomotive pulled trains on the route between Mafikeng and Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) until 1971. In 1985 it was moved from the railway siding to its present position outside the museum. There is also a 1919 steam engine which was used to provide power for machinery.

Considering the towns history and the part it played during the Siege of Mafeking, the most famous engagement of the Second Boer War, it is no surprise that you would find pieces of that history on display in the museum. The old Mafikeng Club which was recently closed, is represented in the museum by a piece of its roof which was hit by shrapnel from a 94 pound shell. There is also part of a steel boiler from the train which was ambushed by General De La Rey's commando at Kraaipan. The hole in this piece of steel was caused by the first artillery shot of the war. The Siege Room features displays of hundreds of artifacts and photographs from Mafikeng's most famous moments and an entire display is dedicated to Sol T Plaatje, academic and founder member of the ANC. His diary of the Siege written when he was a court interpreter provides one of the few written accounts of those events by a black person. Visitors will also see an old ships cannon "the Nelson" manufactured in 1770. The gun weighs 436 kilograms, has a calibre of 94mm and had a range of 2,769 metres. It came to Mafikeng in 1883, sold to chief Montshoia by chief Lentshwe of the Bakgatla for 22 oxen. It was used against land-hungry Boers of the Goshen Republic. Baden-Powell's forces later used it in defence of Mafikeng during the Siege. Inside the museum there is also a treasure trove of artifacts dating back to prehistoric times. An interesting feature is the emphasis on the Tswana culture and history which, for so long, was ignored and a traditional hut greets visitors at the main hall.

The museum is located on the corner of Martin Street and Carrington Street in Mahikeng and admission to the museum is free.

For more information please contact:
Tel: +27-18-3816102


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