Free State DestinationsBotshabelo, Motheo Region
Botshabelo is a large township, a hangover from the apartheid era that lies close to Thaba Nchu, just east of Bloemfontein. People originally moved there in search of work, when they left their rural homes in the Free State to move closer to Thaba'Nchu (a homeland). Botshabelo was reserved exclusively, at the time, for the Tswana people (interestingly the largest group of people originally from Botswana to live in South Africa, whose language is Tswana).
Thaba Nachu, which was settled as early as the 1830s, was something of an enclave of Bophutatswana as a result of apartheid and today remains governed by His Majesty Chief Albert Moroka, responsible for civil matters and judge of the tribal court.
Botshabelo, which means 'place of refuge', is the largest township in the Free State and, after Soweto, the largest in the country. Botshabelo and Thaba'Nchu are known collectively as the Thabelo Area.