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Francistown is the second largest city in
Botswana Botswana (, also ), officially the Republic of Botswana ( tn, Lefatshe la Botswana, label=Setswana; Kalanga: ''Hango yeBotswana''), is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Botswana is topographically flat, with up to 70 percent of its terri ...
, with a population of about 100,079 and 150,800 inhabitants for its agglomeration at the 2011 census. and often described as the "Capital of the North". It is located in eastern Botswana, about north-northeast from the capital,
Gaborone Gaborone ( , , ) is the capital and largest city of Botswana with a population of 231,626 based on the 2011 census, about 10% of the total population of Botswana. Its agglomeration is home to 421,907 inhabitants at the 2011 census. Gaborone ...
. Francistown is located at the confluence of the Tati and Inchwe rivers, and near the
Shashe River The Shashe River (or Shashi River) is a major left-bank tributary of the Limpopo River in Zimbabwe. It rises northwest of Francistown, Botswana and flows into the Limpopo River where Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa meet.tributary A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or main stem (or parent) river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean. Tributaries and the main stem river drain the surrounding drainage basi ...
to the
Limpopo Limpopo is the northernmost province of South Africa. It is named after the Limpopo River, which forms the province's western and northern borders. The capital and largest city in the province is Polokwane (formerly Pietersburg). The province ...
) and 90 kilometres (55 miles) from the international border with
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe (), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the south-west, Zambia to the north, and Mozambi ...

Zimbabwe
. Francistown was the centre of southern Africa's first
gold rush cut the travel time from New York to San Francisco in seven months to four months in the 1849 Gold Rush. A gold rush or gold fever is a discovery of gold—sometimes accompanied by other precious metals and rare-earth minerals—that brings an o ...
and is still surrounded by old and abandoned mines. The City of Francistown is an administrative district, separated from North-East District. It is administered by Francistown City Council.


History

Although evidence of habitation by humans goes back around 10,000 years, written evidence is more recent. The Matabele people (Ndebele) colonised the area in the 1830s on their way to
Bulawayo Bulawayo (, ; Ndebele: ''Bulawayo'') is the second largest city in Zimbabwe, and the largest city in the country's Matabeleland region. The city's population is disputed; the 2012 census listed it at 653,337, while the Bulawayo City Council clai ...
, bringing their culture and influence to the
BaKalanga The Kalanga or Bakalanga are a southern Bantu ethnic group mainly inhabiting Matebeleland in Zimbabwe, northeastern Botswana and Limpopo Province in South Africa. They are historically related to the Nambya, Lozi, Karanga and Venda. Language Th ...
/Kalanga area of north-eastern
Botswana Botswana (, also ), officially the Republic of Botswana ( tn, Lefatshe la Botswana, label=Setswana; Kalanga: ''Hango yeBotswana''), is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Botswana is topographically flat, with up to 70 percent of its terri ...
. Reportedly, Nyangabgwe was the nearest village to Francistown to have been visited by Europeans, when it was visited by the missionary, Robert Moffat. Moffat was followed in 1867 by a gold prospector,
Karl Mauch Karl Gottlieb Mauch (7 May 1837 – 4 April 1875) was a German explorer and geographer of Africa. He reported on the archaeological ruins of Great Zimbabwe in 1871 during his search for the biblical land of Ophir. Exploration and Great Zimbabwe I ...
who found the Bakalanga mining gold along the
Tati River The Tati River is a river in northeast Botswana, a tributary of the Shashe River, which in turn is a tributary of the Limpopo River. The river flows through Francistown, where it is joined by the Ntshe (or Inchwe) River from the left. History Abo ...
, and publicised the
Tati Goldfields The Tati Goldfields are a mineral-rich band in Botswana and Zimbabwe in southern Africa. The band runs approximately long by wide, and crosses the Tati River. It is the southernmost of the gold-bearing bands in the Archaen greenstone (schist) bel ...
starting the first South Africa goldrush. The present town was founded in 1897 as a settlement near the Monarch mine and named after Daniel Francis, an English prospector from Liverpool who acquired prospecting licences in the region in 1869. Francis was a director of the
Tati Concessions Land The Tati Concession was a land and mining concession created in the western borderlands of the Matabele Kingdom. The concession was originally granted by the Matabele King, Lobengula, son of Mzilikaze, to Sir John Swinburne in exchange for gold and ...
(Tati Concessions Company), which acquired the land from Chief Lobengula. The centre of the new town was formed when the company sold off 300 lots in August of that year. The Monarch mine was not the only mine in operation at that time, and it was widely believed that Francistown would grow rapidly. In the beginning, the town comprised one street east of, and parallel to the railway line. This street featured several companies, including two hotels, (the Grand and the Tati), retail and wholesale shops and three banks. Prior to independence Francistown was Botswana's largest commercial centre. In 1897, the company sold part of the land for residential and commercial purposes, and one may say that this marked the birth of Francistown. The city started as a gold mining town, and gold sustained the area's economy from the late 1800s until the 1930s. When gold was discovered nearby in 1869 it sparked the first gold rush in Africa fifteen years before the gold boom at Witwatersrand in South Africa. The industry was hard hit by the global recession of the 1930s. Between 1936 and 1980s, the economy of Francistown was largely supported or dependent on the Witwatersrand Native Labour Association, a company that recruited labour for South African mines. The miners were recruited from many African countries, and transported to South Africa through Francistown by air or railway. Haskins Street (named after a prominent family in the town prior to independence) was the first tarred road in Botswana. Since 1966, the city has grown significantly due mainly to active cross-border trading with Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, in 1997, Francistown became a city, Botswana's 2nd after Gaborone. With the city located astride Botswana's main road and rail transport routes, mining, commerce and agriculture have been essential parts of its economy. Tati Nickel, The Dumela Industrial Complex and Botswana Meat Commission are the main economic drivers in the city. Both government departments and private benefit the local economy. There are a variety of places of worship, including Catholic churches, Muslim mosques, as well as Protestant churches some of which serve traditional African congregations such as the Zionist Christian Church. Education around the city is also diverse. There are several private English-medium schools (Mophato School, KTM and
John Mackenzie School John Mackenzie School is a historic private school situated in Francistown, Botswana. It caters for the education of boys and girls from Transition (Standard 0) to A-Levels in a multi-cultural, interdenominational environment. The school is Franc ...
) and government schools such as
Mater Spei College Mater Spei College is a government-aided Catholic secondary school located in Francistown, Botswana. It educates a mixture of boarding and day scholar students in grades (11-12) or form 4 and form 5. Location Mater Spei College is located in Bots ...
(partly run by the Roman Catholic Church),
Francistown Teacher Training College Francistown is the second largest city in Botswana, with a population of about 100,079 and 150,800 inhabitants for its agglomeration at the 2011 census. and often described as the "Capital of the North". It is located in eastern Botswana, about ...
,
University of Botswana The University of Botswana, popularly known as UB, was established in 1982 as the first institution of higher education in Botswana. The university has three campuses: one in the capital city Gaborone, one in Francistown, and another in Maun. The un ...
Campus and several technical colleges. Transport is also reliable, with railway links to
Harare Harare (; formerly Salisbury until 1982) is the capital and most populous city of Zimbabwe. The city proper has an area of 960.6 km2 (371 mi2) and a population 2,123,132 in the 2012 census and an estimated 3,120,917 in its metropolita ...
and
Bulawayo Bulawayo (, ; Ndebele: ''Bulawayo'') is the second largest city in Zimbabwe, and the largest city in the country's Matabeleland region. The city's population is disputed; the 2012 census listed it at 653,337, while the Bulawayo City Council clai ...
in Zimbabwe, road links with Ramokgwebana Border in the north, and
Kazungula Image:Zambezi River borders of Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe & Botswana.jpg, 250px, Aerial photo of Kazungula (centre right) on the Zambezi River, before the construction of the bridge. Zambia is on the right; Namibia at the top on the left; Botswana i ...
as well as
Kasane Kasane is a town in Botswana, close to Africa's 'Four Corners', where four countries almost meet: Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is at the far north-eastern corner of Botswana where it serves as the administrative center of the Chobe Di ...
, Maun via Nata. The airport has flights flying locally, to Gaborone, Maun, Kasane and other points around the country. Local taxis operate through the night.


Economy


Mining

Francistown is located on Botswana's main air and road transport routes; mining and agriculture are important. Principal mining companies include Tati Nickel, owned by Norilsk Nickel, which has operations at the Selkirk Mine and Phoenix Mine (Botswana), Phoenix Mine, producing principally cobalt, copper and nickel. The Dumela Industrial Complex, an industrial park, is an important employer; the Botswana Metal Refinery was being built in 2008 near the city. However, the project was halted due to high costs.


Media

The city's media fraternity is still at its infant stage. The media includes Botswana's ''The Voice (Botswana), The Voice'' newspaper, which was founded in 1993. This is a very popular tabloid newspaper that had also spread its wings to the capital city,
Gaborone Gaborone ( , , ) is the capital and largest city of Botswana with a population of 231,626 based on the 2011 census, about 10% of the total population of Botswana. Its agglomeration is home to 421,907 inhabitants at the 2011 census. Gaborone ...
.


Climate

Francistown features a hot semi-arid climate, with warm to hot summers and mild winters. The city on averages sees of precipitation annually. The city features a short wet season that spans from December through March and a lengthy dry season that covers the remaining eight months. Francistown receives on average only of precipitation at the peak of its dry season (from June through August), which is also when it experiences its chilliest temperatures. Average low temperatures routinely fall below during the aforementioned months.


Demographics and health

Ever since the founding of Francistown as a gold mining and railway centre in the nineteenth century, the city's population has consistently shown a steady increase. Francistown is Botswana's second largest city with 22.7% of the country's urban population in 1991. The growth of Selebi-Phikwe, Orapa and Jwaneng since 1971, together with the very rapid growth of Gaborone, has reduced Francistown's share of the total urban population from a figure of 34.7% in 1971. In the same period (1971-1991), the country's urban population grew by 427.2% from 54 411 to a population of 287,063. The Bakalanga, the second largest ethnic group in
Botswana Botswana (, also ), officially the Republic of Botswana ( tn, Lefatshe la Botswana, label=Setswana; Kalanga: ''Hango yeBotswana''), is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Botswana is topographically flat, with up to 70 percent of its terri ...
are traditionally centred around the town and the surrounding area. Recently, the city has seen a large influx of illegal immigrants from neighbouring
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe (), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the south-west, Zambia to the north, and Mozambi ...

Zimbabwe
.


Culture

Francistown is home to the Supa Ngwao Museum, with exhibits related to the area's history and heritage. The museum, which receives most of its funds from the government, is currently going through refurbishment as of October 2011. A new nature reserve, Tachila, has been established from central Francistown on an old Tati Company Farm, Lady Mary. The nature reserve is expected to be a tourism turn-over for the already flourishing city with its variety of wild animals.


Places of worship

Among the places of worship, they are predominantly Christianity, Christian churches and temples : Evangelical Lutheran Church in Botswana (Lutheran World Federation), Assemblies of God, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, International Pentecostal Holiness Church, Christ Embassy, Roman Catholic Diocese of Francistown (Catholic Church).


Education

The city has primary schools on almost all its townships, most if not all of which are run by the city council. Notable amongst these are Ikhutseng Primary School, Tati Town Primary School and Nyangabgwe Primary School, which are one of the oldest in the city. There is also Aerodrome Primary School, which has graduated notable citizens like Tony Tabona, the pride of the city's media and entertainment fraternity. The government also has junior high schools, trading as "secondary schools". Most of these were started as partnerships between government and society. It was only recently that the government took most of these over. Examples of these include Setlalekgosi, Montsamaisa and Selepa Junior Secondary Schools. These offer the best education at JC level and have a three-year course. There are private schools in the city as well, amongst others the historic and famous John Mackenzie School, which offers primary, junior secondary as well as senior secondary education. The school also offers O-Levels for students who have pursued the IGCS Examination. There is also Mophato English Medium School, TKM, Clifton Preparatory School and many more other smaller private schools. There are currently two senior secondary schools in Francistown, being Mater Spei College, partly ran by the Roman Catholic Church and Francistown Senior Secondary School, opened in 1978 and currently enrolling 1200 students. Located in the history-rich township of Aerodrome, it is one of the largest institutions in the city. The Francistown Teacher Training College became one of the campuses of the
University of Botswana The University of Botswana, popularly known as UB, was established in 1982 as the first institution of higher education in Botswana. The university has three campuses: one in the capital city Gaborone, one in Francistown, and another in Maun. The un ...
in 1973. The Francistown College of Technical and Vocational Education was officially opened by President of Botswana, President Ian Khama on 10 October 2008. The college was built in order to accommodate 1,500 learners on technical and vocational courses and teacher-training programmes. The college buildings are situated amongst a area in the suburbs of Gerald Estates. The city also hosts the Institute of Health Sciences, which is located near the Nyangabwe Referral Hospital. The institution, amongst others, offers courses in nursing and health care.


Transport and infrastructure

The city is a major transport hub. A railway line links the city with
Harare Harare (; formerly Salisbury until 1982) is the capital and most populous city of Zimbabwe. The city proper has an area of 960.6 km2 (371 mi2) and a population 2,123,132 in the 2012 census and an estimated 3,120,917 in its metropolita ...
in
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe (), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the south-west, Zambia to the north, and Mozambi ...

Zimbabwe
via
Bulawayo Bulawayo (, ; Ndebele: ''Bulawayo'') is the second largest city in Zimbabwe, and the largest city in the country's Matabeleland region. The city's population is disputed; the 2012 census listed it at 653,337, while the Bulawayo City Council clai ...
. The same line links Francistown with the capital city
Gaborone Gaborone ( , , ) is the capital and largest city of Botswana with a population of 231,626 based on the 2011 census, about 10% of the total population of Botswana. Its agglomeration is home to 421,907 inhabitants at the 2011 census. Gaborone ...
and Lobatse in the south. Surfaced roads link the city to Ramokgwebana in the north, and to
Kazungula Image:Zambezi River borders of Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe & Botswana.jpg, 250px, Aerial photo of Kazungula (centre right) on the Zambezi River, before the construction of the bridge. Zambia is on the right; Namibia at the top on the left; Botswana i ...
as well as
Kasane Kasane is a town in Botswana, close to Africa's 'Four Corners', where four countries almost meet: Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is at the far north-eastern corner of Botswana where it serves as the administrative center of the Chobe Di ...
via Nata. The city is served by Francistown International Airport, who was opened on 9 September 2011 after being built at a cost of P596 million, officially opened by Minister of Transport, Frank Ramsden. With a terminal building designated for traffic forecast of up to 2025, it has a larger capacity and has replaced the old airport, which is now used by the Botswana Defence Force's Air Arm.


Malls and plazas

*Tati River Mall — behind the Nzano Center *Tati Shopping Center — includes all the shops in Blue Jacket street *Blue Jacket Square *Barclays Plaza *Nzano Center — includes the Barcelos restaurant, Debonairs Pizza, as well as clothing shops, like Mr. Price, and the Cash Bazaar store; *The Village Mall — hosts the elite Diggers Inn, which offers first-class accommodation; *Galo Shopping Center — has notable restaurants, like Milky Lane, Nando's; banks, such as First National Bank (South Africa), FNB Botswana; as well as supermarkets, like Pick n Pay Stores, Pick n Pay for the city residents' shopping needs; *Golden Valley Mall — pays homage to Marang Superspar; *Nswazi Shopping Mall — also pays host to different shops and supermarkets, like Spar (retailer), SPAR; as well as eateries, like Chicken Licken (restaurant), Chicken Licken, and KFC.


Sports

Based at the Francistown Club, the Francistown School of Tennis is a professional tennis centre dedicated to developing young children (starting at 4 years old) into international tennis players. Francistown also hosts several football clubs. These include TAFIC Sporting Club, TASC FC, ECCO City Greens FC, Great North Tigers FC (GNT) and others. All the teams have played in the country's highest league, Botswana Premier League, sponsored currently by BTC Mobile. GNT was recently promoted to the Premier League, while TAFIC play in the lower division. The new Francistown Stadium is still under construction, and will be complete soon. The stadium will be the largest in the northern part of Botswana, with a capacity of 27,000 spectators, and will be home ground to some of the above teams. Other stadiums in the city include the Francistown City Council's Area S stadium.


Twin towns – sister cities

Francistown is Sister city, twinned with: * Genk, Belgium * Tai'an, China


See also

* Lepashe River * Mathangwane, Mathangwane Village


References


External links


Francistown School of Tennis

Francistown Senior Secondary School
{{Authority control Francistown, Cities in Botswana Populated places established in 1897 North-East District (Botswana) Shashe River 1897 establishments in the British Empire