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Template:Infobox South African town 2011 Polokwane (UK /ˌpɒləˈkwɑːnɪ/[1]) meaning "Place of Safety",[2][3] is a city in the Polokwane Local Municipality and the capital of the Limpopo province, South Africa. It is also often referred to by its former official name,[4] Pietersburg. Polokwane is a major urban centre, the biggest and most important north of Gauteng. Polokwane was one of the host cities of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.


In the 1840s, Voortrekkers under the leadership of Andries Potgieter established Zoutpansbergdorp, a town 100 km to the north west. This settlement had to be abandoned because of clashes with the local tribes. They founded a new town in 1886 and named it Pietersburg in honour of Voortrekker leader Petrus Jacobus Joubert. The British built a concentration camp at Pietersburg during the Boer War to house almost 4,000 Boer women and children. The town officially became a city on April 23, 1992; on February 25, 2005, the government declared the official name of the city as Polokwane, a name that was generally in use by the speakers of Northern Sotho. The city was the site of the ANC national conference which saw Jacob Zuma take over as head of the party.[5]


In 1904 Pietersburg had a population of 3,276, of whom 1,620 (49.5%) were whites.[6] Pietersburg was a white-designated area during apartheid and so had an overwhelming white majority before 1990. After the dismantling of apartheid the city still retained a large white population. Neighbouring townships have a black majority.[7]

The South African Census showed the population of Polokwane as 271,911 in 2001 and 503,000 in 2010.


Jacaranda trees lines many streets in Polokwane, blooming purples blossoms in October every year.

Under the apartheid government certain areas were allocated to certain racial groups; these areas still have a majority of these racial groups present.

  • Westernburg - Former Coloured township
  • Seshego and Turfloop - black townships outside Polokwane
  • Nirvana - Former Indian township

Former White suburbs in the city include:

  • Bendor
  • Welgelegen
  • Moregloed
  • Annadale
  • Ivydale
  • Flora-Park
  • Fauna-Park
  • Penina Park
  • Ivy Park
  • Hospital Park
  • Ster Park
  • Dalmada
  • Broadlands
  • Woodlands
  • Thornhill

These suburbs no longer host exclusive racial groups and the local government has launched a project to encourage integration.[8]


Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: SAWS[9]

Polokwane features a semi-arid climate under the Köppen climate classification. Despite its position on the Tropic of Capricorn,[10] the climate is tempered by its position on a plateau 1230 meters above sea level.[11] Average temperatures reach around Script error: No such module "convert". in January and fall to Script error: No such module "convert". in July.[11] As with much of inland South Africa, Polokwane has experienced notably warmer seasons over the last decade than its long term average.[12] Polokwane has a dry climate with a summer rainy season and a pronounced dry spell during winter. Average annual rainfall is Script error: No such module "convert"., with December or (less often) January the wettest month and July the driest.[13]

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This page is a soft redirect. Climate data for Polokwane (1961−1990)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year

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This page is a soft redirect.Source #2: South African Weather Service[9]



A public airport, Polokwane International Airport, (IATA: PTGICAO: FAPP),[15] is located just North of the city. There are daily flights to Johannesburg.[16]


Nelson Mandela road traffic island on the approach to Polokwane

Polokwane lies roughly halfway between Gauteng (300 km) and the Zimbabwean border (200 km) on the N1 highway, which connects Zimbabwe with the major cities of South Africa, such as Pretoria, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Cape Town.

Running east the R71 connects the city with Tzaneen, Phalaborwa and the Kruger National Park.

On the outskirts of Polokwane when approachng from the direction of Johannesburg is the Nelson Mandela road traffic island which was built prior to the 2010 Fifa World Cup as part of beautifying the city for the event.

There are a number of private bus services running in the city and also services connecting Polokwane to other major centers in the country.


Polokwane is connected to Johannesburg and other major centres via rail. Agricultural produce in the area, including tomatoes, citrus fruit, bananas and avocados, is also transported via freight rail.[17]

Society and culture


The South African Broadcasting Corporation has a branch located in the city.[18] The city also hosts a branch of the country's largest independent radio station, Jacaranda RM/FM, which is broadcast from either Pretoria, Nelspruit or Polokwane.[19] The first and only commercial radio station in Limpopo, CapricornFM also broadcasts from the city.[20] The city also has a selection of locally distributed newspapers.


There is a Sun International casino and hotel in Polokwane. Meropa Casino and Entertainment World is a Moroccan-style 24-hour casino with various outdoor entertainment amenities such as go-karts, mini-golf and a wildlife park.

Museums, monuments and memorials

  • The Bakone Malapa Northern Sotho Open-Air Museum — Depicts the traditional and modern-day lifestyle of the Bakone people. The museum is centered on a traditional village still occupied by members of the tribe, who sell various crafts to tourists. Background information can be obtained in the visitor center. Within the museum complex are archaeological sites with remains of iron- and copper-smelting installations, as well as rock paintings from around 1000 B.C.[21]
  • Eersteling Monuments — The site of the country's first gold crushing site and its first gold power plant are marked by monuments.[22]
  • The Irish House — Historic building which functions as a museum.


Roman Catholic Church in Polokwane (Pietersburg)

One of the earliest churches established in Polokwane (then Pietersburg) was the "English Church." Prior to 1894 there were occasional services for the English Church held by visiting priests in the local Court House. Work began on building a church in Market Street in 1895. The building was completed in 1897 and Christ Church Polokwane had a permanent venue. The church struggled with a lack of members during the Anglo-Boer war (Boer Wars) but regular services resumed in November 1901 and have continued to this day. The Anglican church moved from Market Street to Biccard Street in the 1960s. There is also a Roman Catholic church situated in Biccard street.


In 1912, Pietersburg founded its own congregation, the Pietersburg Hebrew Congregation. A Jewish burial society, a benevolent society and the Pietersburg-Zoutpansberg Zionist Society was formed. A communal hall was built in 1921 and a synagogue in 1953. Description Pietersburg Hebrew Congregation Milestones

1883 First record of Jews settling in the area of Pietersburg, South Africa

1893 First recorded communal Jewish prayer service in Pietersburg

1896 First recorded burial in the Pietersburg Jewish cemetery

1897 Establishment of the Pietersburg Hebrew Congregation incorporating the Pietersburg Jewish Burial and Benevolent Societies

1921 Consecration of the first Synagogue at 23 Jorissen Street, Pietersburg

1953 New Synagogue consecrated at 23 Jorissen Street, Pietersburg

Old Synagogue converted to the Rev Jacob Levine Communal Hall

1994 Rev Jacob Levine Communal Hall sold

1995 Opening of the Wally Levy Hall adjoining the Synagogue

2003 Synagogue and Wally Levy Hall closed and its contents relocated to Tel Mond, Israel



The Polokwane Cricket Club is one of the oldest in the country and was established in 1902.[23]


Noordelikes Rugby Club is the largest amateur rugby club based in the city.[24]

Starting in 2013, the city will host a Limpopo provincial team in the Vodacom Cup.[25]

Springbok rugby captain, Victor Matfield grew up in Polokwane. Former Springbok rugby captain John Smit was born in Polokwane.


Winners Park F.C., Black Leopards F.C. and Polokwane City F.C, South African football clubs, are based in the city.


Polokwane has a number of swimming clubs. Former Olympic gold-medalist and world-record swimmer Lyndon Ferns is from the city.


There is a large tennis club situated in the city and various local tournaments are held regularly.



War memorial outside the Polokwane Art Gallery consisting of hundreds of guns melted after the Anglo-Boer war

Polokwane provides access to various nature and wildlife viewing opportunities for ecotourists. The Polokwane Bird and Reptile Park is home to over 280 species of birds. The Polokwane Game Reserve houses various South African species of wildlife, birdlife, and plants in an unspoiled bushveld environment. The Moletzie Bird Sanctuary protects rare birds like the Cape vulture. The Modjadji Rainforest near Duiwelskloof holds the largest concentration of indigenous cycads in the world, and Cheune Crocodile Farm provides a place to learn about the life of crocodiles.[22]

An extensive art collection is preserved in Polokwane's art gallery, open to the public. The city has more public sculptures per capita in its parks than elsewhere in South Africa. Polokwane was also the first to unveil a bust of the ex-president Nelson Mandela in its City Square (Civic Gardens), and it was authorized by Nelson Mandela personally.[27]

The city is considered the premier hunting destination in South Africa.[citation needed]

Commerce and industry

The city hosts several major industries such as Coca-Cola[28] and South African Breweries.[29] As the capital of the Limpopo province the city also has a large commercial area with the four largest banks in the country all having at least three branches in the city. The city was well known for its manufacturing facility in Seshego of Tempest Radios & Hi-Fis, the largest employer in the region.


Tertiary education

The Tshwane University of Technology, and the University of South Africa both have satellite campuses in the city.[30][31] The University of Limpopo's Turfloop campus is situated about 30 km east of Polokwane.

Secondary education

  • Moloko High School
  • Mitchell's House
  • Pietersburg Hoërskool (PHS) [1]
  • Tom Naude High School
  • Noorderland High School
  • Northern Academy
  • Capricorn High School
  • Heuwelkruin Kollege (Part of the Curro group of private schools)
  • Flora Park Comprehensive High School (FCHS)
  • Mookamedi High School
  • Bokamoso Senior Secondary School
  • Masedibu High School
  • Mohlakaneng High School
  • Khaiso High School
  • Eagles Nest Christian School
  • Pemps (Pietersburg English Medium Primary School)
  • Pepps College
  • Mmaphuti High School
  • Kopano Senior Secondary School
  • Northern Muslim School

Shopping malls

  • Limpopo Mall
  • Savannah Mall
  • Mall of the North [32]

International Relations

Polokwane is a sister city with:

Notable people

  • Victor Matfield, former South African national rugby team captain
  • John Smit, former South African national rugby team captain
  • Marthinus van Schalkwyk, former Minister of Tourism in the Cabinet of South Africa.
  • Lyndon Ferns, Olympic gold-medalist and former world record swimmer
  • Peter Mokaba, a controversial anti-apartheid activist
  • Julius Malema, controversial South African public and political figure
  • Frederik van Zyl Slabbert was a South African political analyst, businessman and politician
  • Caster Semenya a South African middle-distance runner and world champion
  • Retief Goosen a South African professional golfer who was in the top ten in the Official World Golf Ranking for over 250 weeks between 2001 and 2007.


  1. ^ "Polokwane". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  2. ^ Polokwane - The Heart of the Limpopo Province. City of Polokwane official website. Retrieved on Oct 15, 2009.
  3. ^ "Our history". Polokwane Local Municipality. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  4. ^ Republic of South Africa (7 January 2005). "Department of Arts and Culture: Approval of Official Place Names". Government Gazette. Retrieved Oct 15, 2009. 
  5. ^ South Africa | Zuma comes out on top |
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b "Climate data for Polokwane". South African Weather Service. Archived from the original on March 4, 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  10. ^ "Profiles: History of Polokwane". The African Executive. 12–19 December 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2010. 
  11. ^ a b Peter Baxter. "Polokwane". WhyGo: South Africa. Retrieved 10 February 2010. 
  12. ^ Average monthly and annual temperatures, Polokwane/Pietersburg 1932Template:Spaced ndash2007, GISS
  13. ^ GHCN monthly rainfall Pietersburg , NGDC, 1932-1992
  14. ^ "Pietersburg Climate Normals 1961−1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  15. ^ "FAPP - Polokwane Intl, ZA - Airport - Great Circle Mapper". Retrieved 10 February 2010. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Freight rail given boost in Limpopo". Polokwane Observer. 24 February 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2010. 
  18. ^ Sabc Corporate
  19. ^ Jacaranda 94.2FM
  20. ^ CapricornFM
  21. ^ "Bakone Malapa Open-Air Museum". Planetware. Retrieved 10 February 2010. 
  22. ^ a b "SA Places To See Polokwane". Zeuzzo 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2010. 
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ - Peter Mokaba Stadium: the stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
  27. ^
  28. ^ Coca-Cola | South Africa
  29. ^ SAB Limited - Sites and locations
  30. ^ Tshwane University of Technology - About Us
  31. ^ UNISA - online
  32. ^ Mall Of The North

External links

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