Information and history

ID #4076

History, Free State, South Africa.

When the Boers trekked away from British rule in 1836, they crossed the Orange River (Gariep) and found vast, sparsely inhabited grasslands dotted with koppies and teeming with game.  Here they outspanned their oxen, built homesteads and cultivated crops.  Today this rolling prairie is covered with farms and the N1 highway links modern towns and rich gold mines, following a route similar to that blazed by the Voortrekkers.

Away from the highway, you will find the unique intriguing character of the province.  Quiet villages where life goes on at an enviable, carefree tempo, magnificent sandstone cliffs and mountains, hiking trails meandering through green valleys and Bushman (Bushmen) paintings that evoke images of battles, dreams and legends. 

The popular playgrounds of the Orange River in the south and the Vaal River in the north attract scores of holidaymakers.  Outdoor enthusiast have unlimited opportunities for horse riding, game viewing, hunting and bird watching.

Although most of the South Sotho (Basotho) live in Lesotho, many inhabit QwaQwa and other parts of the Free State. They dress in brightly coloured blankets. The conical oriental-looking straw hat worn by the men is the national emblem of Lesotho. Marriage customs involve the exchange of lobola, whereby the bridegroom gives a specified number of cattle to the bride’s parents. Marriage between relatives is permitted for the simple reason that the practise keeps wealth within the family. Old traditions still linger in the mountains where the inhabitants are isolated.  Farmers till fields with hand-held ox-drawn ploughs and the keep cattle, sheep and goats. AOFree

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Last update: 2014-05-13 13:55
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.1

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