Location: 2790, 763 Lucas Mangope Hwy, Montshiwa Unit 2, Mahikeng, 2790
Mmabatho Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Mafikeng. It is currently used mostly for football matches. The stadium holds 59,000 people and was designed and built in 1981 during Apartheid by an Israeli construction firm.
The stadium was built back when the land was part of Bophuthatswana Bantustan, just 4 years after the artificial republic was announced independent, in 1981. It was supposed to serve as Bophuthatswana’s national stadium, though the Bantustan had a relatively small population compared to the building’s scale.
Added to that, the stadium was reportedly designed by a Soviet team of architects and erected by Israeli contractors, an individual mix one may not have expected.
The stands seem irrational, even if crowd circulation or sightlines actually make some sense. Fans enter through four large ramps that later split into numerous smaller routes leading both to large open terraces and smaller individual sections towering on top of the regular stands. This symmetric work is, in a way, truly impressive.
A different reason why this stadium can be questioned is the demand for such a structure. It also has no anchor tenant, making it one of the world’s largest “white elephants” stadiums.
The stadium is also a home to the North-West University football club. However, on occasions, football games are being played here, but the emphasis is on “occasions” here. Concerts, political rallies or even artistic happenings all come second after training which is the main use of this multi-discipline stadium surrounded by a high number of fields/courts for other sports.