The Fort Merensky is a monument built by William Merensky in an area known as Botshabelo next to Middelburg. William Merensky built this monument as a fortress  when he fought with the BaPedi ba Ga-Sekhukhune. These fights happened as a result of one of the King’s son Dinkonyane joining Christianity. Most Pedi kings were against this move by Dinkonyane. So in retaliation they joined forces and attacked Rev William Merensky. Rev Merensky and his followers build a place where they could hide woman and children while at the same time fight back from. So the Fort Merensky was built, with high walls.

Their first priority in building the fort was to protect Botshabelo as the settlement was known and it’s Christian community. Three churches were built in succession as the population grew. School buildings, a seminary for training black missionaries and facilities for teaching carpentry and wagon making followed in 1878. An additional draw card in this rural area was the provision of medical treatment as Merensky's ample medical qualifications. Fort Merensky was built at the top of a ridge in 1865 by BaPedi refugees and restored in 1961. It is believed that William Merensky fought side by side with BaPedi who were taken in at Botshabelo. The Fort Merensky is still standing even today and the public allow is encouraged to visit the monument in Botshabelo

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Peter Buti Mopai