Welkom: The Garden’s Inner City
Welkom is one of the cities in the South African province, the Free State. It is located northeast of the capital. The city is considered to be the youngest in the province, obtaining its cityhood in 1955. It contains one of the largest gold mining hubs in the province; a 160-km gold field situated northeast of the capital. The name of the city, “Welkom”, was derived from the Dutch’s or Afrikaans’s term for the word “welcome”. The city would have never been founded if not because of the good amount of gold under its territory. A town emerged from the open area right after the gold discovery within the area.
Aside from being rich of gold resources, the city has a rich and interesting history as well. It was between the years 1937 and 1948 when a small community for mining purposes emerged within the perimeter. Accordingly, there was not more than five hundred individuals settling within the community during those years and the community was only known as the Uitzig Camp.
By the fourth month of 1946, a rich source of gold was found below the surface of one of the farms in the area. The existence of Welkom was officially recognized six years after the mining permit was given to the Mining Company of St. Helene in the year of 1946. It was proclaimed as an official town a year after.
Considered as one of the ideally pre-planned cities around the world, the planner and the designer of the town was asked to plan a city-structure where the locals could be proud of. It was all thanks to Ms. Joanne Pim why the city of Welkom is now recognized today as a city within a garden. The description fits the overall geography and surroundings of the city filled parks and natural reserves.
In February1955, the city gained its city title at the exact day of its 21st anniversary as a town. In fact, this special day includes the official opening of its Civic Center as well. The center includes an administrative hall, a dining hall, and a theatre. The center has its very own clock tower as well, which is now considered as one of the tourist attractions existing in the city. The Association of Welkom Publicity frequently holds their events around the Civic Center’s Clock Tower as well.
The City Structure
The best structure of the city lies within the city’s road traffic model. The road traffic model used by the Welkom city emphasizes the road traffic circles, attracting the interest of numerous city developers all around the globe. A typical flow design is one of the inspirations that drove the road city structure of Welkom. This design promotes lesser vehicle stops and zero traffic lights within the city. Parking meters do not even exist within the District for Central Business too.
When it comes to attractions within or near the city, we can name three aside from all the attractions the city has for everyone. One will definitely love the Erfenis Dam Reserve, for example. This natural reserve is situated within the Free State province in between Winburg and Theunissen. Golf enthusiasts may opt to visit the Oppenheimer Park in order to experience a world-class challenge for a golf course. This course lies within the outskirts of Welkom’s gold-mining center adjacent to the large dam flocked by a certain type of flamingos. The Willem Pretorius Reserve, on the other hand, will definitely capture the interest of people who love to see various species of birds and games. One can easily access this natural reserve because Welkom City is near the heart of the province.
Events in Welkom
Running is the primary and the most typical event within the city. There are about three marathons being held in the city of Welkom: the Mealie Marathon, the Welkom Medi-Clinic Women’s 5k Marathon, and the Bultfontein Boertjie Fees Half Marathon.
The Mealie Marathon is known to be one of the long-lived events within the province, typically held during the earlier months of every year. In fact, 2012 was the event’s 34th year since it started. People may opt to sign up for either the half marathon or the 10-kilometer race.
With regards to the Welkom Medi-Clinic Women’s 5k marathon, both males and females can participate and take the one-lap 5-kilometer race. Usually, top ten runners will receive cash prizes depending upon what was planned for the event. This marathon is held during the middle months of each year.
The last marathon, nevertheless, is known to be a great event full of surprises. With South African music and different competitions for both adults and kids, people should never let this event pass a few weeks after the Medi-Clinic event.