2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Africa; Cities

The central area of Pretoria viewed from the Union Buildings.
The central area of Pretoria viewed from the Union Buildings.
Flag of Pretoria
Motto: Praestantia Praevaleat Pretoria (May Pretoria Be Pre-eminent In Excellence)
Country South Africa
Province Gauteng
Established 1855
 - Total 1,644  km² (634.8  sq mi)
Population ( 2007)
 - Total 2,345,908
 -  Density 856/km² (2,217/sq mi)
Time zone SAST ( UTC+2)
Area code(s) 012

Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive (administrative) and de facto national capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital.

Pretoria is contained in the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality as one of several constituent former administrations (among which also Centurion and Soshanguve), and therefore sometimes incorrectly referred to as Tshwane — this contentious issue is still being decided.

Geography and climate

Pretoria (South Africa)
Pretoria (South Africa)

Pretoria is the transitional area between the Highveld and the Bushveld, approximately 50 km north of Johannesburg in the north-east of South Africa. It lies in a warm, well sheltered, fertile valley, surrounded by the hills of the Magaliesberg range, 1,370 m (4,495 ft) above sea level. The city's coordinates are approximate . Snow is an extremely rare event, which occurs once or twice in a century, with the last recorded snowfall on 27 June 2007.

Climate Table
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Highest recorded temperature ( °C) 36 36 35 33 29 25 26 31 34 36 36 35 36
Average daily maximum temperature ( °C) 29 28 27 24 22 19 20 22 26 27 27 28 25
Average daily minimum temperature ( °C) 18 17 16 12 8 5 5 8 12 14 16 17 12
Lowest recorded temperature ( °C) 8 11 6 3 -1 -6 -4 -1 2 4 7 7 -6
Average monthly precipitation ( mm) 136 75 82 51 13 7 3 6 22 71 98 110 674
Average number of rain days (>= 1 mm) 14 11 10 7 3 1 1 2 3 9 12 15 87
Source: South African Weather Service


Geographical distribution of home languages in the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality.
Geographical distribution of home languages in the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality.

The city has a population of approximately one million. The main languages spoken in Pretoria include Tswana, Afrikaans, Ndebele, and English. The whole Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality had a population of 1 985 997 as of the 2001 census.

Language Population %
Pedi 439 732 22.14%
Afrikaans 422 866 21.29%
Tswana 339 719 17.11%
Tsonga 198 441 9.99%
Zulu 151 200 7.61%
English 129 923 6.54%
Ndebele 98 077 4.94%
Sotho 78 435 3.95%
Swati 37 963 1.91%
Xhosa 37 957 1.91%
Venda 35 242 1.77%
Other 16 425 0.83%


Satellite image of Pretoria from above.
Satellite image of Pretoria from above.

Nguni-speaking settlers, who later became known as the Ndebele (derived from the Sotho word for 'refugees'), were probably the first people to recognise the suitability of the river valley which was to become the location of the future city of Pretoria for settlement.

During the difaqane in Natal, another band of refugees arrived in this area under the leadership of Mzilikazi. However, they were forced to abandon their villages in their flight from a regiment of Zulu raiders in 1832.

Pretoria itself was founded in 1855 by Marthinus Pretorius, a leader of the Voortrekkers, who named it after his father Andries Pretorius. The elder Pretorius had become a national hero of the Voortrekkers after his victory over the Zulus in the Battle of Blood River. Andries Pretorius also negotiated the Sand River Convention (1852), in which Britain acknowledged the independence of the Transvaal. This made him the first successful leader in the fight against British colonialism in Sub-Sahara Africa It became the capital of the South African Republic (ZAR) on 1 May 1860.

The founding of Pretoria as the capital of the South African Republic can be seen as marking the end of the Boers' settlement movements of the Great Trek.

During the First Boer War, the city was besieged by Republican forces in December 1880 and March 1881. The peace treaty which ended the war was signed in Pretoria on 3 August 1881 at the Pretoria Convention.

The Second Boer War (1899 to 1902) resulted in the end of the South African Republic and start of British hegemony in South Africa. During the war, Winston Churchill was imprisoned in the Staats Model School in Pretoria but escaped to Mozambique. The city surrendered to British forces under Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts on 5 June 1900 and the conflict was ended in Pretoria with the signing of the Peace of Vereeniging on 31 May 1902.

The Boer Republics of the ZAR and the Orange Free State were united with the Cape Colony and Natal Colony in 1910 to become the Union of South Africa. Pretoria then became the administrative capital of the whole of South Africa, with Cape Town the legislative capital. Between 1860 and 1994, the city was also the capital of the province of Transvaal, superseding Potchefstroom in that role.

On 14 October 1931, Pretoria achieved official city status. When South Africa became a republic in 1961, Pretoria remained its administrative capital.

After the creation of new municipal structures across South Africa in 2000, the name Tshwane was adopted for the Metropolitan Municipality that includes Pretoria and surrounding towns.

Pretoria previously had a rather sinister image as "the capital of Apartheid South Africa". However, Pretoria's political reputation was changed with the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as the country's first black President at the Union Buildings in the same city. However, the name Pretoria still has a negative connotation to some black South Africans, and therefore a change of name to Tshwane has been proposed. This proposed change is controversial to most of the inhabitants of the city.

One example of the image of Pretoria abroad was the derisive nickname Pretoria-Gasteiz for Vitoria-Gasteiz in Negu Gorriak's song Napartheid.

In 1994 Peter Holmes Maluleka was elected as transitional mayor of Pretoria, until the first democratic election held later that year, making him the first black mayor of this capital of South Africa. Maluleka later became the chairman of the Greater Pretoria Metropolitan City Council (later Tshwane Metro Council), then was elected Speaker of the Tshwane Metro Council and in 2004 was chosen to be a member of the South African Parliament for the Soshanguve constituency.

Cultural and Academic

The front part of the Theo van Wyk Building on the Main Campus of UNISA.
The front part of the Theo van Wyk Building on the Main Campus of UNISA.
Streetsigns in Pretoria
Streetsigns in Pretoria

Pretoria is one of South Africa's leading academic cities, and it is home to both the largest residential university in the country (the University of Pretoria), the Tshwane University of Technology and the largest distance education university (the University of South Africa, more commonly known by its initials, UNISA). The South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is also located in this city.

  • List of universities in South Africa


One of the most popular sports in Pretoria is rugby union. Loftus Versfeld is home to the Blue Bulls who compete in the domestic Currie Cup, the Bulls who compete in the international Super 14 competition (Winners of the Super 14 in 2007) and to soccer side Mamelodi Sundowns . Pretoria also hosted matches during the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Loftus Versfeld will be used for matches of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.There are two soccer teams in the city campaigning in the Premier Soccer League. They are Sundowns and Supersport United. Sundowns are the reigning PSL Champions. Cricket is also popular.


Pretoria is an important industrial centre, with heavy industries including iron and steel casting as well as automobile, railway and machinery manufacture. In a study entitled An Inquiry into Cities and Their Role in Subnational Economic Growth in South Africa and published in 2002 by statisticians at Potchefstroom University, the city was found to contribute 8.55% of the country's total GDP, making it the third biggest contributor behind Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Change of name

On 26 May 2005 the South African Geographical Names Council (SAGNC), which is linked to the Directorate of Heritage in the Department of Arts and Culture, approved changing the name of Pretoria to Tshwane, which is already the name of the Metropolitan Municipality in which Pretoria, and a number of surrounding towns are located. Although the name change was approved by the SAGNC, it has not yet been approved by the Minister of Arts and Culture, Pallo Jordan. The matter is currently under consideration while he has requested further research on the matter. Should the Minister approve the name change, the name will be published in the Government Gazette, giving the public opportunity to comment on the matter. The Minister can then refer the public response back to the SAGNC, before presenting his recommendation before parliament, who will vote on the change. Various public interest groups have warned that the name change will be challenged in court, should the minister approve the renaming. The long process involved made it unlikely the name would change anytime soon, if ever, even assuming the Minister had approved the change in early 2006.

The Tshwane Metro Council has advertised Tshwane as "Africa's leading capital city" since the name change was approved by the SAGNC in 2005. This has led to further controversy, however, as the name of the city had not yet been changed officially, and the council was, at best, acting prematurely. Following a complaint lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), it was ruled that such advertisements are deliberately misleading and should be withdrawn from all media. Despite the rulings of the ASA, Tshwane Metro Council failed to discontinue their "City of Tshwane" advertisements. As a result, the ASA requested that Tshwane Metro pay for advertisements in which it admits that it has misled the public. Refusing to abide by the ASA's request, the Metro Council was banned consequently from placing any advertisements in the South African media that refer to Tshwane as the capital. ASA may still place additional sanctions on the Metro Council that would prevent it from placing any advertisements in the South African media, including council notices and employment vacancies.

After the ruling, the Metro Council continued to place Tshwane advertisements, but placed them on council-owned advertising boards and busstops throughout the municipal area. In August 2007, an internal memo was leaked to the media in which the Tshwane mayor sought advice from the premier of Gauteng on whether the municipality could be called the "City of Tshwane" instead of just "Tshwane". This could increase confusion about the distinction between the city of Pretoria and the municipality of Tshwane.

Sister cities

Places of interest

The Union Buildings
The Union Buildings
The Voortrekker Monument
The Voortrekker Monument
  • The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
  • Church Square
  • Union Buildings
  • Marabastad
  • Menlyn Park


  • Kruger House (Residence of the president of the ZAR, Paul Kruger).
  • Melrose House (The Treaty of Vereeniging which ended the Anglo-Boer War was signed here in 1902)
  • Voortrekker Monument
  • Freedom Park
  • Transvaal Museum
  • African Window

Nature Reserves

  • Groenkloof Nature Reserve
  • Rietfontein Nature Reserve
  • Moreletaspruit Nature Reserve
  • Faerie Glen Nature Reserve
  • Wonderboom Nature Reserve
  • National Botanical Gardens


  • Loftus Versfeld

Radio and television broadcasting

Radio and TV broadcasting in Pretoria is supplied via a network of VHF/FM and UHF transmitters and repeaters owned and operated by Sentech - South Africa's state-owned broadcast signal distributor - from four transmitter sites in and around the city. A number of community radio stations operate transmitters from non-Sentech sites.

The inception of an FM broadcast service in South Africa, began on September 1, 1961 from what is now known as the Sentech Tower in Brixton, Johannesburg. The remainder of South Africa was initially served by medium wave transmitters, which were essentially localised to the larger centres. A massive drive through the 1960's and 70's saw the roll-out of the FM network to the rest of the country. Much of the original equipment supplied was through technology exchange programmes, meaning that the transmitters were of European design, but manufactured in South Africa. Original networks were based on 3kW tube FM equipment, operating into channel combining equipment to allow the use of a common transmit antenna system, with a gain of around 10-12dB. Sentech embarked on a huge programme in the late 1980's to effect replacement of these ageing FM transmitter and antenna systems. In world terms, it was the single largest contract awarded to a local manufacturer for the supply of FM transmitters.

In South Africa, digital migration still has to happen. Currently, analogue TV occupies the VHF frequencies where digital radio needs to migrate. Once digital migration is done, South Africa will have Digital Terrestrial Television ( DTT) and listen to digital radio on the DAB system. For now, virtually all South Africans rely on analogue terrestrial (FM/AM/SW) broadcasts for their radio consumption.

Pretoria Transmitting Station

The main broadcast site for Pretoria is situated west of the city close to the Hartebeespoort Dam - designed to beam signals down into the valley ("moot") formed by the Magaliesberg. Twelve radio and six TV services are broadcast from this site.


  • 87.90 MHz - SABC Thobela FM
  • 89.30 MHz - SABC Ligwalagwala FM
  • 91.00 MHz - SABC Motsweding FM
  • 92.40 MHz - SABC Metro FM
  • 94.20 MHz - Jacaranda 94.2
  • 95.60 MHz - SABC Munghana Lonene FM
  • 96.80 MHz - SABC Ikwekwezi FM
  • 97.50 MHz - SABC Radio 2000
  • 101.0 MHz - SABC Radio Sonder Grense
  • 102.4 MHz - SABC Ukhozi FM
  • 104.6 MHz - SABC SAfm
  • 106.0 MHz - Talk Radio 702


  • 8n - SABC 1
  • 5n - SABC 2
  • 11 - SABC 3
  • 21 - M-Net
  • 25 - M-Net Community Services Network (CSN)
  • 29n -

Sunnyside Transmitting Station

The Telkom Lukasrand Tower, which dominates the Pretoria skyline, carries four radio services and TV repeaters.


  • 90.50 MHz - Radio Rippel
  • 100.1 MHz - SABC Lotus FM
  • 103.6 MHz - SABC 5 FM
  • 107.2 MHz - Tuks FM


  • 63n - SABC 1
  • 55n - SABC 2
  • 59 - SABC 3
  • 67 - M-Net
  • 46 - M-Net CSN
  • 38n -

Menlo Park Transmitting Station

This is a repeater station, designed as gap-filler for the eastern parts of Pretoria.


  • 89.00 MHz - SABC Motsweding FM
  • 93.60 MHz - SABC Ikwekwezi FM
  • 95.30 MHz - Jacaranda 94.2
  • 98.60 MHz - SABC Radio 2000
  • 102.1 MHz - SABC Radio Sonder Grense
  • 105.7 MHz - SABC SAfm


  • 57n - SABC 1
  • 53n - SABC 2
  • 65 - SABC 3
  • 61 - M-Net
  • 44 - M-Net CSN
  • 48n -

Pretoria North Transmitting Station

This is essentially a TV repeater station for the area north of the Magaliesberg.


  • 89.90 MHz - SABC 5 FM


  • 52n - SABC 1
  • 40n - SABC 2
  • 46 - SABC 3
  • 50 - M-Net
  • 54 - M-Net CSN
  • 37n -

Community Radio Stations on non-Sentech sites

  • 92.80 MHz - Kangala Community Radio (Verena-Renosterkop)
  • 93.00 MHz - Soshanguve Community Radio (Soshanguve)
  • 93.60 MHz - TUT TOP Stereo (Tshwane University of Technology-Pretoria West)
  • 96.20 MHz - TUT FM (Tshwane University of Technology-Soshanguve)
  • 103.0 MHz - Impact Radio (Magaliesberg)
  • 104.2 MHz - Radio Pretoria (Kleinfontein)
  • 106.6 MHz - Moretele Community Radio (Babelegi-Hammanskraal)

Medium wave (AM) and short wave radio stations

The following medium wave and short wave radio stations can also be heard in Pretoria. Some stations will be clearer at night. Short wave frequencies vary according to time of day. More information is at


  • 576 kHz - SABC Metro FM (Meyerton, Gauteng)
  • 657 kHz - Radio Pulpit (Meyerton, Gauteng)
  • 909 kHz - Voice of America (Moepeng Hill, Botswana)
  • 1197 kHz - Family Radio (Lancers Gap, Maseru, Lesotho)

SHORT WAVE (all at Meyerton, Gauteng)

  • BBC World Service
  • SABC Channel Africa
  • SA Radio League
  • Trans World Radio
  • Family Radio

Broadcasts from outside the city

Due to Pretoria's proximity to Johannesburg, most radio services broadcast from the 234m high Sentech Tower in Brixton, Johannesburg can also be heard in the southern parts of Pretoria (where the line of sight is not blocked by the Magaliesberg or ridges) These include:

  • 88.40 MHZ - SABC Lesedi FM
  • 93.20 MHz - SABC Umhlobo Wenene FM
  • 94.70 MHz - 94.7 Highveld Stereo
  • 95.90 MHz - Kaya FM
  • 99.20 MHz - Y-fm
  • 102.7 MHz - Classic FM
  • 107.8 MHz - SABC PhalaPhala FM

In certain areas of Pretoria (especially on hilltops) it is also possible to pick up radio stations transmitted from Sentech's sites at Thabazimbi, Limpopo and Middelburg, Mpumalanga.

Pretoria radio at a glance

Excluding the SA Radio League, there are 36 conventional (FM/AM/SW) radio stations available in Pretoria (including those broadcasting from Johannesburg).

  • 15 are owned by the national public broadcaster, the SABC (13 PBS; 2 PCBS)
  • 6 are privately-owned commercial enterprises (only two private stations has transmitters in Pretoria - Jacaranda 94.2 and Talk Radio 702)
  • 9 are single-transmitter community radio stations with limited reach
  • 11 broadcast only in English
  • 5 broadcast in Afrikaans or are bilingual (Afrikaans & English)
  • 14 broadcast in vernacular African languages
  • 12 have their studios situated in the Pretoria/Centurion area
  • 3 are international news and current affairs services (external services)
  • 3 are multilingual international Christian radio stations

Satellite broadcasting

Satellite television broadcasting is provided by South Africa's premier satellite TV provider - Multichoice's DStv and satellite radio broadcasting by WorldSpace Digital Satellite Radio. They utilise the IS-7 Ku-band and the AfriStar satellites respectively. Sentech also does satellite broadcasting via its Vivid system on PanAmSat PAS7 and PAS10 - primarily to distribute feeds to remote transmitter sites and business broadcasting, but the service is also available to the public and offers a small number of TV and radio channels which are not available on other platforms.


  • Pretoria's main street, Church Street is the longest urban street in South Africa and one of the longest straight streets in the world.
  • Many of the city's streets are lined with Jacaranda trees that blossom mauve (purplish blue) in spring, giving rise to the city's nickname "Jacaranda City" (or "Jakarandastad" in Afrikaans).
  • The Cullinan Diamond (the largest gem diamond ever found) was discovered in the town of Cullinan near Pretoria at the Premier Mine on January 26, 1905.
  • Pax Praetoriana was named after Pretoria.
  • The initial full designation of the city was Pretoria Philadelphia (‘Pretoria of brotherly love’).
  • The band Seether is from Pretoria.
  • The theatre actor and movie star Arnold Vosloo is from Pretoria.

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