Situated about 55 kilometres north-east of Vryburg and the same distance south-west of Lichtenburg. The district generally was occupied by the Ratlou and Rapulana factions of the baRolong. Sefunelo's baRolong resided at Thabeng from the early 1820's. They were displaced from the region during the difaqane by the baPhuting and baTaung. After the arrival of the Voortrekkers a number of Boer notables, such as including President M.W. Pretorius, purchased farms around present-day Delareyville, but there was little other economic activity apart from the collection of salt from the nearby salt-pans.

Map showing Mafikeng, Lichtenburg & Zeerust.
Delareyville was established on the farm Zoutpan, which was state4 property. A Field-Cornet A.P. Visser approached the Transvaal Department of Land and Town Commission with a view to establishing a town there in 1912, but there was little to recommend the place, beyond the need for a Church to serve the surrounding Afrikaner farmers. After at least 130 of these farmers promised they would purchase stands in the proposed town, the authorities agreed to such a move in June 1913. The Minister of Lands proposed that the town be named Saltwaters, in view of the large number of salt-pans in the vicinity.
However, Visser suggested that it should be named in honour of the Boer War General, Jacobus (Koos) de La Rey, who during the South African War had emerged victorious in a Battle at Bosbult a few kilmetres distant.(See also De La Rey, and Battle of Bosbult). So in September 1914 the name was changed. A statute of de La Rey stands in the front of the town's municipal offices. The Dutch Reformed Church  in the main street is a national monument. An Earth Satellite Station was established in Delareyville in 1998 to improve telecommunications in South Africa. Otherwise it is predominantly a rural area, producing maize, sunflower, sorghum and ground-nuts. Cattle and sheep farming are also practiced. The fresh water lake of Barberspan, (Leghadighadi or "deep water hole" in Setswana) is situated nearby. It is fed by flood spill from the Harts (Kollong in Setswana ) river. It is a well-known bird and fish reserve.
In recent years Delareyville has been connected with events with which it would not like to be consistently associated. In May 2008, a number of reported attacks on farm workers by white owners led to condemnation from a number of quarters over racial intolerance. Also, in April 2009 it was reported that a farm in the district was to be expropriated from a local white rancher, the first in terms of South Africa's land restitution programme. The decision was disputed by the owner, and is on-going.            

South Africa's North-West province: A Guide to its History and Heritage. © 2017

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