Many famous persons are associated with Bloemfontein; these include:
- Allan Donald, South African cricketer
- Francois Steyn, rugby player
- Hansie Cronje, controversial South African cricket captain
- J. R. R. Tolkien CBE was born in Bloemfontein on 3 January 1892. Tolkien is famous for his fantasy epics The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. When aged 3, Tolkien left South Africa for England.
- Juan Smith, rugby player
- Leon Schuster, filmmaker, comedian and musician, born and schooled in Bloemfontein
- Morne van Wyk played for South Africa Proteas Cricket team
- Os du Randt, rugby player
- Ryk Neethling, Olympic gold medalist swimmer
- Shaun Morgan and Dale Stewart, musicians and founding members of the band Seether
- Zola Budd, international long distance athlete, born in the city and attended Sentraal High School
- Willem Jackson, played for South Africa Bafana Bafana soccer team
- Tony Kgoroge, South African actor, performances in movies including Hotel Rwanda, Blood Diamond, Invictus, Lord of War and Skin.
- Gerrit Badenhorst,is a powerlifter and strongman competitor.
- Lucas Maree, Afrikaans musician and songwriter
- Coenie de Villiers, Afrikaans musician and songwriter
- Professor Russel Botman, rector and vice-chancellor of University of Stellenbosch
- Winkie Direko, first African chancellor of the University of the Free State
- Alfred"Ace"Mgedeza, former Orlando Pirates legend in the 1970s
- Mochubela Seekoei, former ANC ambassador to the United Nations
- Petrus Molemela, life president of Bloemfontein Celtic
- Thomas Mapikela, former Treasurer- General of the ANC
- Caleb Motshabi, first Bloemfonteiner to serve jail term on Robben Island
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