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Quiz about South Africas Three Capitals
Quiz about South Africas Three Capitals

South Africa's Three Capitals Trivia Quiz

The Union of South Africa in 1910 brought together the Cape, Natal, Transvaal, and Orange River colonies into one country within the British Commonwealth, until 1961 when South Africa became a Republic. What do you know of its three different capitals?

A classification quiz by reedy. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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4 mins
Classify Quiz
Quiz #
Mar 27 22
# Qns
Avg Score
12 / 15
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: AmeliaKellum (5/15), Guest 137 (15/15), Guest 41 (13/15).
Assign each of these descriptions to the South African capital city with which they are associated, either Bloemfontein, Cape Town, or Pretoria.
Cape Town

Nicknamed 'City of Roses' Former capital of British Cape Province Former capital of the Orange Free State Closest to Table Mountain Anglo-Boer War Museum Legislative capital (Parliament) Nicknamed 'Mother City' Judicial capital (Supreme Court) National Zoological Gardens of South Africa Closest to geographical center of S.A. Closest to Johannesburg Former capital of the Boer republic of Transvaal Nicknamed 'Jacaranda City' Executive (administrative) capital Robben Island UNESCO World Heritage Site

* Drag / drop or click on the choices above to move them to the correct categories.

Most Recent Scores
Jun 10 2024 : AmeliaKellum: 5/15
Jun 10 2024 : Guest 137: 15/15
Jun 03 2024 : Guest 41: 13/15
Jun 03 2024 : bradez: 8/15
May 25 2024 : Guest 169: 13/15
May 19 2024 : Guest 169: 15/15
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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Former capital of the Orange Free State

Answer: Bloemfontein

The British colonial presence in today's Free State province of South Africa began with the establishment of the Orange River Sovereignty (also called Transorangia) in 1848. Just a couple of years prior to that, Captain Henry Douglas Warden (British Resident among the tribes living beyond the Frontier to the North-East) bought the farm Bloemfontein as a location to establish the capital of the soon-to-be country.

This only lasted until 1854, when Sir George Russell Clerk (who had been in 1853 as special commissioner "for the settling and adjusting of the affairs" of the Sovereignty), signed the Orange River Convention, giving over control of the region to the Boers who inhabited it.

The Orange Free State remained an independent Boer republic until the British conquered it during the Second Boer War (1899-1902), occupying the country in 1900, and then annexing it in 1902 as the Orange River Colony.

When the Union of South Africa was established in 1910, the region became the Province of the Orange Free State, with Bloemfontein remaining the capital of the new province. In 1994, following the country's first post-Apartheid election, it was renamed simply, 'Free State' province.
2. Judicial capital (Supreme Court)

Answer: Bloemfontein

With the Union of South Africa joining four separate colonies, there was bound to be some disagreements between the regions as to where the capital would go. A compromise was reached where each of the four former capital cities would take on a portion of the governance. Bloemfontein became the location of the Appellate Division (Supreme Court of South Africa), which would later become the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) with the new constitution in 1997.
3. Nicknamed 'City of Roses'

Answer: Bloemfontein

'Bloemfontein' actually translates as 'fountain of flowers,' and this is put on display every year with the city's annual rose festival. The first Bloemfontein Rose Festival (AKA the 'Mangaung Rose Festival') was held in 1976, and has since expanded to achieve international renown. In addition to competitions to the citizenry to beautify their gardens around the city, horticulturists are also challenged to design floral displays in public spaces.

Much of the action happen at the Loch Logan Waterfront, and include such activities as the Free State Rose Society's champion Rose Cut Competition, the Miss Volksblad Rosebud competition (beauty pageant for 3-4 year-olds), the Rose Morning High Tea, and the Mangaung Rose Classic Cycle Tour (road cycling race).
4. Closest to geographical center of S.A.

Answer: Bloemfontein

The geographical center of South Africa, as determined by drawing lines from the four extreme points (northernmost to southernmost and easternmost to westernmost), is located within the Free State province, to the northwest of Bloemfontein. There is no town at the site, but you can find a geocache there 'Next to fence under small Karee tree.'
5. Anglo-Boer War Museum

Answer: Bloemfontein

The Anglo-Boer War Museum, also known as The War Museum of the Boer Republics, was established in Bloemfontein in 1931 in a building purpose-designed by Frans Soff, who also designed the National Women's Memorial on the same site.

Permanent exhibits in the museum include displays on General Louis Botha (who became the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa), General De La Rey, General De Wet, Emily Hobhouse, President Paul Kruger, Sol Plaatje, and Lord Frederick Sleigh Roberts.
6. Former capital of British Cape Province

Answer: Cape Town

Cape Town is the oldest city in South Africa, and the second-largest in the country behind Johannesburg. The first European explorer to see (and name) the region was Bartolomeu Dias in 1488, who called it 'Cabo das Tormentas' (Cape of Storms). It would be renamed 'Cabo da Boa Esperanša' (Cape of Good Hope) by the King of Portugal. It would not see European settlers arrive until the Dutch came in 1652, establishing the (Dutch) Cape Colony for the Dutch United East India Company.

In 1795, the British invaded the (Dutch) Cape Colony in the Battle of Muizenberg, and took over governance for a period of eight years, when the Peace of Amiens gave the Colony back to the Dutch. The Napoleonic Wars quickly ended the Peace of Amiens, and three years later, the British once again took control of the Cape (in the Battle of Blaauwberg). This time, when the Anglo-Dutch Treaty was signed in 1814, the British took over permanently.

The (British) Cape Colony became self-governing in 1872, officially called 'The Cape of Good Hope,' and when the Union of South Africa happened in 1910, it became the Province of the Cape of Good Hope, or just the Cape Province. This continued through the establishment of the Republic of South Africa in 1961, and lasted until the end of Apartheid. In 1994, the Cape Province was divided into four smaller provinces - the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape, and a portion of the North West province. Cape Town is within the Western Cape province.
7. Legislative capital (Parliament)

Answer: Cape Town

Cape Town is the seat of South Africa's parliament, which is a bicameral legislature, consisting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.

Back in 1853, the Cape Colony became a British Crown colony with representative government, establishing a parliamentary system based on the British system. The Parliament of the Cape of Good Hope had the House of Assembly (lower house) and the Legislative Council (upper house).

With the Union of South Africa in 1910, the parliament consisted of the Crown's representative (the Governor-General), the Senate, and the House of Assembly. This remained essentially the same when South Africa became a republic in 1961, excepting that there was now a State President (instead of the Queen).

In 1984, at the height of Apartheid, a new constitution established a tricameral parliament, with the creation of a House of Representatives to represent the Coloureds, and a House of Delegates for the Indians, in addition to the already existing House of Assembly for whites.

A decade later with the fall of Apartheid and another new constitution, the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (as previously mentioned) were established.
8. Nicknamed 'Mother City'

Answer: Cape Town

As the oldest city in South Africa, and the point from which the rest of the country was settled (by colonial Europeans), Cape Town is also called the 'Mother City.'

The initial movement to the interior of the country was in the mid 17th century by 'trekboers' - seminomadic farmers looking for better land who were also looking to escape the harsh strictures of the Dutch East India Company that managed Cape Town.

After the British took control of the Cape, the 'Great Trek' (beginning in 1836) saw more than 12,000 Boers move eastward, leading to the establishment of the different Boer republics (The South African Republic (AKA the Transvaal), the Orange Free State, and the Natalia Republic).
9. Closest to Table Mountain

Answer: Cape Town

Well before the arrival of Europeans, Table Mountain was sacred to the Khoi and San peoples, who called it 'Hoerikwaggo,' meaning 'Mountain in the Sea.' They believed it to be the home of their god (Tsui or Goab). The first European to climb the mountain was Admiral Antonio de Saldanha in 1503, who named it 'Taboa da caba,' translating as 'table of the cape.'

With the Dutch (and later British) colonies occupying the Cape of Good Hope, Table Mountain became a landmark for seafarers, and the impressive sight that signified 'home.' At a height of 1,086 m (3,563 ft), Table Mountain overlooks Cape Town and Table Bay and dominates the northern end of the high, rocky Cape Peninsula.

While many have climbed the mountain over the years, the trip became much easier with the first cable car, established in 1929. Tens of millions have made the journey to the top since then. But with the region being so biodiverse (2,200 different plant species), concerns arose surrounding conservation. Table Mountain was declared a National Monument in 1957, and the Cape Peninsula Protected Natural Environment (CPPNE) area was eventually established in 1989. Nearly a decade later in 1998, President Nelson Mandela proclaimed the Cape Peninsula National Park, which was later renamed to Table Mountain National Park.
10. Robben Island UNESCO World Heritage Site

Answer: Cape Town

Robben Island is found in Table Bay, 6.9 km (4.3 mi) west of the mainland and about 11 km (6.8 mi) north of Cape Town. It was originally named 'Robbeneiland,' which translates from Dutch as 'Seal Island.'

The island was originally used as a 'refueling' station for sailing ships to restock their supplies as they rounded the southern shores of Africa, and the early Dutch colonists also used it to keep their farm animals safe from mainland predators. But it wasn't long before it came into use as a prison colony, for prisoners from throughout the various Dutch colonies.

Beginning in the mid-19th century, after the British had taken over the Cape Colony, they used the island as a leper colony. This lasted from 1846 until 1931! Not long after, with the buildup to World War II, fortifications were built on the island as a defensive measure against possible attack on Cape Town.

From 1961 until 1991, Robben Island was the site of the South African government's Maximum Security Prison, known for housing many political prisoners. Amongst its most famous residents during the Apartheid years were Nelson Mandela, Kgalema Motlanthe, and Jacob Zuma, all of whom have gone on to become the President of South Africa in the years since.

In 1999, Robben Island was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
11. Former capital of the Boer republic of Transvaal

Answer: Pretoria

Pretoria was founded in 1853 by one of the Voortrekker leaders, Marthinus Pretorius, who named the settlement for his father Andries Pretorius (Boer hero of the Battle of Blood River (against the Zulus) in 1838).

The South African Republic, also known as the Transvaal, was established with the 1852 Sand River Convention, in which the British officially recognized Boer independence north of the Vaal river (hence, Transvaal). With a new country, the Boers established the Volksraad (parliament), and a capital, initially established in Potchefstroom; it was moved to Pretoria in 1855, and Marthinus Pretorius was elected as the first president of the fledgling republic in 1857.

Following the Second Boer War (in 1902), however, the South African Republic fell under British occupation, and became the Transvaal Colony. With the Union of South Africa in 1910, Pretoria continued as a capital city, but from that point part of the Transvaal province. With the end of Apartheid in 1994 and a new constitution, the Transvaal province was divided into smaller provinces, with Pretoria falling within the province of Gauteng.
12. Executive (administrative) capital

Answer: Pretoria

Since 1910, Pretoria has been the seat of South Africa's executive (administrative) branch of the government. The Union Buildings, which house various government departments and the offices of the president, were designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1908. The cornerstone was laid in November of 1910, and the structure was completed in 1913.

Pretoria is the center of the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, and there has been some discussion on changing the name of the city to Tshwane, which is the native name of Apies River that runs through the region.
13. Nicknamed 'Jacaranda City'

Answer: Pretoria

Thousands of Jacaranda trees lining the streets and parks of Pretoria have made the city very distinctive and have earned the city the nickname 'Jacaranda City.' The trees, originally transplanted from Brazil, produce clusters of purple, panicle-shaped blooms from mid-September until November. And with an estimated 70,000 plus trees in the city, it makes for quite the sight.
14. Closest to Johannesburg

Answer: Pretoria

Johannesburg is South Africa's largest city, and Pretoria is just 55 km (34 miles) to the northeast of it. By itself, Johannesburg is considered a megacity, and is one of the 100 largest cities in the world. Together, the Johannesburg-Pretoria urban area is the 26th largest in the world with over 14 million inhabitants (according to Demographia, June 2021).
15. National Zoological Gardens of South Africa

Answer: Pretoria

The National Zoological Garden of South Africa, informally called the Pretoria Zoo, is South Africa's national zoo. Established in 1899 just as the Second Boer War was beginning, it became the newly unified South Africa's National Zoological Gardens in 1916.

In a 2018 article published on, the National Zoological Garden of South Africa was rated amongst the ten top-rated zoos in the world (at number six), with over 9,000 animals, belonging to over 700 species.
Source: Author reedy

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