RANDOM Times •

To survive, you must tell stories…(“,)

Mmabatho, the stadium with flying tribunes

2 min read

South Africa’s Mmabatho Stadium is famous for its unusual design, with its elevated stands that don’t actually face the pitch but other stands.
Located 300 km from Johannesburg, close to South Africa’s border with Botswana, it is the African nation’s fifth largest stadium, but it rarely sees any use these days because of its impractical design. It was the home of the Mmabatho Kicks of the now-defunct Bophuthatswana Professional Soccer League but, eventually, teams and events migrated to other venues.

Built in 1981 during the apartheid era, a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia) from 1948 to the early 1990s, Mmabatho Stadium is often cited as an example of impractical architectural design.
It was commissioned by Lucas Mangope’s government which ruled the Bophuthatswana Bantusan and designed by Israeli architect Israel Goodovitch and engineer Ben Abraham.
Together they came up with an unconventional concept that went against pretty much every basic principle of stadium design…and not in a good way, even if authorities apparently loved the idea and went ahead with the construction.
And, after it was inaugurated, it didn’t take long for people to realize that its unusual elevated stands didn’t offer the best view of the action on the pitch, and actually required them to turn their heads to the side in order to watch the game.

The unusual design and poor viewing experience were the main reason that Mmabatho was snubbed also during the 2010 FIFA World Cup both for official games and even as a training field, and the only action it sees these days are occasional charity matches and neutral ground games between some South African soccer clubs.
Either way, the 59,000-seat structure is most often described as “curious”, “strange” and even “bizarre”, but some view it as a work of art, and even compare it with a bloomed tulip. Unfortunately, the sharp angles, unusual geometry, and the fact that the stands are too far from the pitch make it a poor stadium, at least as far as fans are concerned.
And, as bold as Mmbatho’s design may be, its lack of functionality has relegated this big stadium to the rank of historic monument, and has inspired no imitations.

Images from web – Google Research

Random-Times.com | Volleytimes.com | Copyright 2025 © All rights reserved.