This was an easier day for our driver as we only travelled with the city limits of Mafikeng. The city gives the impression that there is no civic pride here as compared to towns like Ottosdal.
The museum we visited, while having a wealth of information concerning the siege, history of the Dutch settlement, history of the various tribes in the area and with good hand-painted story boards, its general maintenance was poor indeed, and even the room that had much information was in darkness. When asked why the lights do not work, we were told, ‘the rain comes in and fuses the lights’, it will not rain here until October or November, we are in Africa.
We were fortunate though, while we were there a couple of school buses with very small children aboard, obviously kindergarten, arrived and as part of their tour they were singing beautifully in harmony and when you closed your eyes, you knew you were in Africa.
We left the Museum and went to the Mafikeng cemetery where those who died in the siege, both civilian and soldier, are buried. There are a few Australians buried here, mostly from the Imperial Bushmen. These Australians were a part of the relieving column.
There were also quite a few interesting headstones. None more so than Flight Lieutenant AFW Beauchamp-Proctor, VC, DSO, MC and Bar, DFC, who died in an accident in the UK in 1921 and was interred here in Mafikeng, he was 24 years old. We will research this fellow as the story is very interesting. Tomorrow is a long drive through Vryburg to Kimberley.
At Kimberley we stay three nights as there is much to see.