|Country||Republic of South Africa|
|Address||763 Lucas Mangope Hwy, Mahikeng, 2790, South Africa|
Description: Mmabatho Stadium
The stadium was built in northern Mahikeng 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.
As if this wasn’t complicated already, the stadium was reportedly designed by a Soviet team of architects and erected by Israeli contractors, an individual mix one may have not expected. Authorship of the building may seem secondary, but once you see its architecture, you almost yearn to know what was one the authors’ minds!
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 structure. The Bantustan created for Tswana people hardly needed a building of almost 60,000 people and that need seems even smaller following the integration of Bophuthatswana into South Africa. Since then the building is merely a municipal stadium.
It also has no anchor tenant, making it one of the world’s largest “white elephants”. 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 with high number of fields/courts for other sports.
South Africa: One of two unique giants at risk of collapse
There are only two stadiums of this kind worldwide, both in South Africa. Neither of them seems to have a bright future, but the less fortunate one could begin to collapse any day, it seems.