Polokwane meaning “Place of Safety” in Northern Sotho, also known by its former name, Pietersburg, is the capital of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. It is South Africa’s largest urban centre north of Gauteng. It was one of the host cities of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
In the 1840s, Voortrekkers under the leadership of Andries Potgieter established Zoutpansbergdorp, a town 100 km (62 mi) to the northwest. This settlement had to be abandoned because of clashes with the local tribes. They founded a new town in 1886 and named it “Pietersburg” in honour of Voortrekker leader Petrus Jacobus Joubert. The British built a concentration camp at Pietersburg during the Boer War to incarcerate almost 4,000 Boer women and children. The town officially became a city on 23 April 1992; on 25 February 2005, the government declared the official name of the city as Polokwane, a name that was generally in use by the speakers of Northern Sotho. The city was the site of the ANC national conference which saw Jacob Zuma take over as head of the party.
The Pietersburg Golf Club along with the golf course was established in the late 1800s. The immaculate lush green course comprises a full 18 holes. Retief Goosen (born 3 February 1969) was born in Pietersburg and honed his skills at the Pietersburg Golf Club.
The Polokwane Cricket Club is one of the oldest in the country and was established in 1902.
The Limpopo Baobabs represents the city as well as the province of Limpopo in the Brutal Fruit Netball Cup. South African Spar Protea goal shooter Lenize Potgieter was also born in Polokwane.
Noordelikes Rugby Club is the largest amateur rugby club based in the city.
Starting in 2013, the city will host a Limpopo provincial team in the Vodacom Cup.
Springbok rugby captain, Victor Matfield grew up in Polokwane. Former Springbok rugby captain John Smit was born in Polokwane.
Winners Park F.C., Black Leopards F.C. and Polokwane City F.C., and Baroka F.C., South African football clubs, are based in the city.
Polokwane has a number of swimming clubs. Former Olympic gold-medalist and world-record swimmer Lyndon Ferns is from the city.
A large tennis club is situated in the city, and various local tournaments are held regularly.
Polokwane features a semiarid climate under the Köppen climate classification. Despite its position on the Tropic of Capricorn, the climate is tempered by its position on a plateau 1230 m above sea level. Average temperatures reach around 21–22 °C (70–72 °F) in January and fall to 11 °C (52 °F) in July. As with much of inland South Africa, Polokwane has experienced notably warmer seasons over the last decade than its long-term average. Polokwane has a dry climate with a summer rainy season and a pronounced dry spell during winter. Average annual rainfall is 495 mm (19.5 in), with December or (less often) January the wettest month and July the driest.
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