Mafikeng, North West Province, South Africa

Train in Mafikeng.

Mafikeng is an interesting place with a fascinating history. It was previously called Mafeking because British colonialists had trouble with the original pronunciation. It was during the South African War of 1899 that this town really got put on the map.

After being besieged by thousands of Boer soldiers, British Commander Robert Baden Powell used a series of clever ruses, tricks and bluffs to keep the Boer forces at bay. More impressively, after realizing he did not have enough men to perform all the necessary tasks, he recruited and trained a group of boys to perform essential, non-combatant roles.

After 217 days the siege was over, but the boys who had run the messages and stood watch did not just fold back. They were the foundation of the Boy Scout movement, which has now spread across the world.

Mafikeng is the capital of the North West Province of South Africa. It is situated on the border of Botswana and is the gateway route to Africa via excellent road and rail networks and an airport. Mafikeng in a fast growing, modern and bustling town, now comprising of Mmabatho, formally the capital of Bophuthatswana.

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