Prison history from 1800 until 2000

During his period in office, President Brand re-organized the administration and government affairs of the Republic, thus Bloemfontein experienced unparalleled progress in almost every sector.

Due to President Brand's leadership, a sense of unity and national pride developed among the Free State residents and the Republic developed into a model state. The Second Basotho War took place during this period but peace was eventually agreed to by the Basothos. In , Basotholand today Lesotho became a British Protectorate. The discovery of diamonds between and , and the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand in led to a general boom in trade and gave stimulus to Bloemfontein's growth.

The discovery of diamonds near Hopetown in , in Jagersfontein and next to the banks of the Vaal River around the Du Toit's Pan area in , led to an immense number of fortune seekers rushing to the area between the Vaal and Orange Rivers.


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In , diamonds were also discovered in Kimberly. In March , President Brand undertook a deputation to Britain to discuss compensation for Bloemfontein's loss of the diamond fields.

Although the amount awarded did not make up for the loss of the area, it served as recognition that the OFS was wronged and would help in the development of the Republic. During President Brand's long period of office, Bloemfontein became the leading town in the Republic, mainly because the diamond fields created new markets and brought in new trade. In , the new Anglican Cathedral was opened in St George's Street and in both the Wesleyan and Lutheran church buildings were completed.

In , the Basotho monument, on the hill near the Fort, was unveiled in memory of the Burghers that lost their lives during the Basotho war of The population grew fast, but conflict in the surrounding areas continued for a long time. In August , Sir George Russell Clark, former Governor to Bombay, was sent as a special commissioner to Bloemfontein to make the necessary arrangements for Britain's withdrawal from the area.

On 15 February , a meeting was held between Clark and the residents in the school building on St Georges Street to discuss the conditions of withdrawal. On 23 February the Bloemfontein Convention was signed, which gave the Orange River Sovereignty self governing status. On 11 March , Clark, together with staff and troops, left the Orange River Sovereignty and the area became an independent Republic.

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The name was changed to the Orange Free State and Bloemfontein became the official capital. The temporary government chose to purchase the Warden residence to be used as the official residence for the President of the OFS. An election was held to choose a new Volksraad and a new constitution was drawn up.

With the withdrawal of the British troops, Bloemfontein lost half of its population, and only about residents remained, leaving the mainly English speaking community in dismay. For a short while after the withdrawal of Britain, the progress of the town slowed down. However, the British were gradually replaced by other foreigners like the Dutch, Germans, Jews and Afrikaners. At this time the town only consisted of simple single-storey houses with face brick walls and straw roofs, and a few shops that were centred on the market place.


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Birds eye view of Bloemfontein when it was still the Orange River Colony, pre Source: Franco Frescura collection. The town was surveyed and pegged out by Andrew Hudson Bain, whose layout took the form of long streets that were parallel to the stream running in a north and south direction.

Colonial history of Bloemfontein | South African History Online

The shorter streets were at right angles to the long ones and the town continued to expand northwards of the stream. Bain's plans went only as far north as St Andrews Street. In , the First Raadsaal was built in St George's Street, initially as a school and hall, but it was also used as a church and meeting place.

In , the first NG congregation was formed and in May they moved into their new church, built at the top end of Kerk Street. The Roman Catholic, Anglican and Wesleyan churches also formed congregations at this time in Bloemfontein and they held their services at the First Raadsaal. The Wesleyan priest who arrived in Bloemfontein in held service in a hut, mainly for the Black and Coloured population. Several businesses were then established and the town grew larger. In June the first municipal commissioner was appointed, although Bloemfontein did not have full municipal status at the time.

The Commissioner could now have greater control over the affairs of the town and officials, such as the Town Clerk, market-master, and water fiscal. Postal services at this stage were relatively primitive.

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The first postal route between Bloemfontein and Colesberg was established soon after the settlement was started in by Major Warden. Other routes followed very soon after. A new Post Office was built on the same site when this building became too small, and was opened on 22 June All supplies came by transport riders with ox drawn wagons from the harbours of Port Elizabeth and East London which made the delivery of things like building material, clothes, household goods and furniture difficult to obtain.

Therefore, living in Bloemfontein was quite expensive. During this period relations between the different groups were still strained and British authority in the region did not have the desired effect. During the s, Bloemfontein remained a small town, relatively isolated from the rest of South Africa. The borders of the town grew until Church Street in the north and to Market Street today Markgraaf Street in the west. By , the population was about people with about 60 houses. In , Chief Mzilikazi established himself on ThabaBosiu and began building a strong nation from people previously scattered in the area.

In , the Barolong under the chieftaincy of Moroka II established themselves at what was later known as Thaba Nchu. Around , White stock farmers crossed the Orange River in search of grazing land, after drought and locust infestations ravaged the Cape Colony. Sometime between and , trek Boer farmer Johan Nicolaas Brits settled in the Transoranje area. The area was convenient as it had a small stream and a fountain provided him with a good water supply.

Apparently the place Brits chose was originally a meeting place for hunters, and the Black people called it Mangaung place of the cheetahs , but it became known as Bloemfontein in later years. There is some controversy surrounding the name, but one theory is that when Brits settled here, the fountain was surrounded by flowers and thus the Brits family named it Bloemfontein, literally meaning 'fountain of flowers'. Another theory is that the name was put forward by one of Brits' neighbours, a Mr.

Griesel, who referenced it to Mrs. Brits' garden. Johan Nicolaas Brits built a pioneer's home close to the fountain. Because these Boers were from the Cape Colony, they were still considered British subjects. Over a period of time, conflict grew between the different population groups in the Transoranje area, resulting in British intervention. Therefore, in , Major Henry Douglas Warden was appointed to set up a British residency in the area.

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Warden was tasked with the difficult job of maintaining peace between the different population groups and to set up an administration. His immediate orders were to set up a residency as soon as possible in a centrally situated place, between the areas occupied by Adam Kok and Mosheshwe. Warden accidentally came across the fountain area between the Riet and Modder rivers. From a military point of view, Warden found the area suitable because it was situated in a small valley surrounded by hills on all sides and was free of horse sickness.

The centrality of the site would also make it easy for transport riders to bring necessary commodities to the settlement. Warden's troops, known as the Cape Riflemen, arrived in Bloemfontein on 26 March and Warden followed shortly after.

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At the time the farm consisted of a small mud house with a garden in the front and an orchard which was watered through a furrow. One division of Warden's soldiers began building a fort to the north of the fountain which was named Fort Drury, after Sergeant Drury who served the dual function of garrison's doctor and teacher to the children of the soldiers. The second division began building the official residency at the top end of the present St George Street. While this was being done, Warden moved temporarily into the Brits' house.

The third division of the regiment concentrated on building clay huts for the soldiers and stables for the horses, which was the beginning of the settlement. The absolute disparity is measured by the difference between black and white incarceration rates, while the relative disparity is measured by the black-white ratio in incarceration rates. Table shows the trend in absolute and relative disparity for imprisonment and admission rates for selected years from to Through the s and s, racial disparities increased in both absolute and relative terms.

The increase in absolute disparities is especially striking, growing more than 3-fold from to for prison admission rates and more than doubling from to for imprisonment rates. The large increase in absolute disparities reflects the extraordinarily high rates of incarceration among African Americans that emerged with the overall growth of the incarceration rate.

From onward, the white incarceration rate increased more rapidly than the incarceration rate for blacks, and the relative disparity declined.