Winburg - Fighting to Keep its History Intact

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Winburg is situated 120km away from the city of Bloemfontein and is the birthplace of Martinus Theunis Steyn, the former President of what was then referred to as the Orange Free State and has played a significant role in Voortrekker history, being the second-oldest town in the Free State.

The original Dutch Reformed Church that was built in 1899 became a significant place of worship for the Afrikaners and was used as a hospital during the Anglo Boer War. In 1917 trouble was brewing in the camp and a number of the original congregation members split from the church for political reasons. The building is now referred to as the old church, as a new sandstone church was built in 1941.

The land that the town now stands on was initially bought by Andries Pretorius for 42 head of cattle from the Bataung Tribe in 1836, in return for protection from the Basotho who resided in the surrounding mountains about 70 km to the east. The town served as the first Voortrekker capital of the unofficial Boer state and was once earmarked as the site for the main Voortrekker monument. This, however, was not to be; Pretoria won favour as the venue for this Afrikaner accolade. The town of Winburg was however to be mentioned in despatches for its historical contribution to the Voortrekker cause and as such, a secondary five-tier monument was built in the town in the 1960s.

The area serves as a large farming constituency and in recent times Winburg has come under the spotlight, with residents expressing concern as to the general state and disrepair of the town. With a number of historical monuments and a magnificent garden of remembrance which commemorates the fallen heroes of the Great Trek, residents are determined to preserve this historical town in its original glory. The area has remained a tourist hot-spot over the years and in the opinion of the townsfolk the preservation of this important part of South African history is vital to the income of tourism-driven industries in Winburg.

In terms of property ownership, the area has become a popular choice with those who work in surrounding cities such as Bloemfontein and commute to their place of work from this quieter, countrified, rural area.

Property is fairly affordable and Winburg is ranked third in the Municipal district of Masilonyana where the average valuation came in at just over R360 000. Freehold sales dominated the residential property market in the area, with all 25 transactions in the last 12 months falling into this sector of the market. Price averages have maintained steady growth since 2009. However, the current price averages are under par when compared to 2008’s figures.

The area offers an abundance of farmhouse guest lodges and bed-and-breakfast establishments at the ready to welcome bird-watching and fly-fishing enthusiasts to the region. Aside from the historical splendour that this nostalgic region offers, good fresh air and hearty farm-style cuisine are sure to warm the hearts and bellies of those who visit this district.

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