Welkom is a city in the Free State
Free State
The Free State is a province of South Africa. Its capital is Bloemfontein, which is also South Africa's judicial capital. Its historical origins lie in the Orange Free State Boer republic and later Orange Free State Province. The current borders of the province date from 1994 when the Bantustans...

 province of South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, located 160 kilometres northeast of Bloemfontein
Bloemfontein is the capital city of the Free State Province of South Africa; and, as the judicial capital of the nation, one of South Africa's three national capitals – the other two being Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Pretoria, the administrative capital.Bloemfontein is popularly and...

, the provincial capital. Welkom received municipal status in 1961 and was declared a city in 1968 on the 14th of February. In the years of segregation the township of Thabong was established for blacks and the township of Bronville for colored people.

The city is the hub of the Free State gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 fields, serving several gold and uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

 mines. In addition to mineral ore
An ore is a type of rock that contains minerals with important elements including metals. The ores are extracted through mining; these are then refined to extract the valuable element....

, Welkom produces such goods as steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

, lumber
Lumber or timber is wood in any of its stages from felling through readiness for use as structural material for construction, or wood pulp for paper production....

, and beef
Beef is the culinary name for meat from bovines, especially domestic cattle. Beef can be harvested from cows, bulls, heifers or steers. It is one of the principal meats used in the cuisine of the Middle East , Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Europe and the United States, and is also important in...

. The city has a technical college and a technological institute. Welkom is served by a small airport and a branch of the main railway between Johannesburg
Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa...

 and Cape Town
Cape Town
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

. The city is internationally known for the Grand Prix
Grand Prix motor racing
Grand Prix motor racing has its roots in organised automobile racing that began in France as far back as 1894. It quickly evolved from a simple road race from one town to the next, to endurance tests for car and driver...

 racing circuit located at its edge.

The city is named after the farm Welkom where gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 was first found.
The word welkom is Afrikaans and Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 for welcome. It is now the second largest city in the Free State.


In the 2001 census
South African National Census of 2001
The South African National Census of 2001 is the most recent national census of South Africa.The census was undertaken by Statistics South Africa and undertook to enumerate every person present in South Africa on the census night, 9–10 October 2001. The enumeration primarily took place from 10 to...

, Welkom (including the adjacent areas of Thabong and Riebeeckstad) had a population of 191,341 people in an area of 90 square kilometres (34.7 sq mi). 84% of the inhabitants described themselves as "Black African", 12% as "White" and 4% as "Coloured
In the South African, Namibian, Zambian, Botswana and Zimbabwean context, the term Coloured refers to an heterogenous ethnic group who possess ancestry from Europe, various Khoisan and Bantu tribes of Southern Africa, West Africa, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaya, India, Mozambique,...

". 59% spoke Sotho as first language
First language
A first language is the language a person has learned from birth or within the critical period, or that a person speaks the best and so is often the basis for sociolinguistic identity...

, 16% spoke Xhosa
Xhosa language
Xhosa is one of the official languages of South Africa. Xhosa is spoken by approximately 7.9 million people, or about 18% of the South African population. Like most Bantu languages, Xhosa is a tonal language, that is, the same sequence of consonants and vowels can have different meanings when said...

, and 14% spoke Afrikaans. English
South African English
The term South African English is applied to the first-language dialects of English spoken by South Africans, with the L1 English variety spoken by Zimbabweans, Zambians and Namibians, being recognised as offshoots.There is some social and regional variation within South African English...

, Zulu
Zulu language
Zulu is the language of the Zulu people with about 10 million speakers, the vast majority of whom live in South Africa. Zulu is the most widely spoken home language in South Africa as well as being understood by over 50% of the population...

 and Tswana
Tswana language
Tswana or Setswana is a language spoken in Southern Africa by about 4.5 million people. It is a Bantu language belonging to the Niger–Congo language family within the Sotho languages branch of Zone S , and is closely related to the Northern- and Southern Sotho languages, as well as the Kgalagadi...

 were each spoken by 3% of the population, and 1% spoke Tsonga
Tsonga language
The Tsonga or Xitsonga language is spoken in southern Africa by the Tsonga people, also known as the Shangaan.- Classification :Tsonga belongs to the Bantu branch of the Niger–Congo languages...


Famous people

  • Jan Hendrik de Beer
    Jannie de Beer
    Jan Hendrik de Beer , nicknamed Jannie, is a South African former rugby union player. He played flyhalf for the South African national team, the Springboks. In all he represented the Springboks in 13 tests, scoring 183 points. He stands 1.82 meters tall, and weighs 87 kilograms...

     - Famous Rugby player
  • Gerard Louis Brophy
    Gerard Brophy
    Gerard Louis Brophy is a first-class cricketer, presently contracted to Yorkshire. He has also played for Ireland, Free State, Northamptonshire and Transvaal in a well travelled career....

     - Cricketer
  • CJ van der Linde
    CJ van der Linde
    CJ van der Linde is a South African rugby union footballer. His usual position is prop. He played for Leinster Rugby in the international Magners League from 2008–10, and currently plays for the Stormers....

     - Union rugby player
  • Brian Mervin McMillan
    Brian McMillan
    Brian Mervin McMillan played 38 Tests and 78 One Day Internationals for South Africa from 1991 to 1998...

     - Cricketer
  • Wynand Olivier
    Wynand Olivier
    Wynand Olivier is a South African rugby union footballer. He currently plays for the Bulls in the international Super 14 competition. His usual position is at centre, although he has played on the wing in the past.-Career:...

     - Union rugby player
  • Mark Richard Shuttleworth
    Mark Shuttleworth
    Mark Richard Shuttleworth is a South African entrepreneur who was the second self-funded space tourist. Shuttleworth founded Canonical Ltd. and as of 2010, provides leadership for the Ubuntu operating system...

     - Entrepreneur and founder of Canonical Ltd.
    Canonical Ltd.
    Canonical Ltd. is a private company founded by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth to market commercial support and related services for Ubuntu Linux and related projects. Canonical is registered in London and employs staff around the world...

  • Thandi Tshabalala
    Thandi Tshabalala
    Thandi Tshabalala is a South African cricketer who plays first-class cricket for the Eagles as a specialist off spinner. He was first called up to the South African team in February 2006, as he made the squad for their Twenty20 International against Australia, but did not play...

    - Cricketer

External links

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