Adventure Tourism in the Apartheid Era: Skydiving in Mafikeng-Mmabatho

James H. Drummond, Christian M. Rogerson, Fiona J. Drummond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Present-mindedness is a defining characteristic of the majority of research on niche tourism. In many respects this is unsurprising as interest in niche tourism has been driven by policy imperatives and potential contributions to destination development. Adventure tourism is one of the more well researched forms of niche tourism in South Africa. The existing South African literature is overwhelmingly dominated by contemporary issues. This study builds upon an emerging tradition of research in South African tourism scholarship which explores past tourisms by applying an archival approach and a key stakeholder interview. Extant studies on the development of adventure tourism in South Africa have demonstrated the geographical dominance of activities in the ‘white’ areas and the almost complete lack of the sector in ’black’ areas. This paper presents historical evidence from Mafikeng-Mmabatho, the capital city of the former Bophuthatswana Bantustan from 1977-1994, which shows that skydiving at Mmabatho airport, in particular the international event marketed as the ‘Mmabatho Boogie’, was an important niche offering in the town’s tourism portfolio and a welcome contributor in terms of hotel accommodation and tourist spend. Skydiving in the area declined after 1994 as the main organiser driving the Mmabatho Boogie left, which coincided with Bophuthatswana’s re-incorporation into South Africa. Overall, the research contributes to an emerging historical scholarship in tourism studies in South Africa and represents one of the first such investigation to be undertaken concerning adventure tourism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-594
Number of pages17
JournalAfrican Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure
Issue numberSpecialEdition
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Adventure tourism
  • Bantustans
  • Bophuthatswana
  • Historical approach
  • Skydiving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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