"Mamelodi" was the name given to president Paul Kruger by the Africans because of his ability to whistle and imitate birds, also meaning Mother of Melodies.
The township was established when 16 houses were built on the farm Vlakfontein in June 1953 and later the name changed to Mamelodi. The Group Areas Act designated Mamelodi as a blacks-only area, though this became moot with the fall of Apartheid in 1994. In the 1960s black citizens where forcefully removed from the suburb of Lady Selbourne in Pretoria to Mamelodi, Ga-Rankuwa and Atteridgeville. Anti-apartheid activist Reverend Nico Smith preached in Mamelodi from 1982–1989, and obtained permission to live there himself from 1985–1989. During that period, he and his wife Ellen were the only whites legally allowed to live in Mamelodi. The township still has vastly more blacks than any other group as of 2010.
Since 2001 Mamelodi has had a large AIDS outreach program helping several thousand orphans in the community.l Mamelodi is home to the largest AIDS Hospice Center in South Africa with 140 beds available free of charge.
The University of Pretoria operates a campus in Mamelodi. The campus in Mamelodi was incorporated from Vista University into the University of Pretoria on 2 January 2004 as part of a government reshuffle of smaller institutions into larger ones.
The U.S. Embassy operates the Mae Jemison Science Reading Room in Mamelodi. This stand-alone building on the University of Pretoria campus has a small library, computers, and an auditorium. It is used for after-school reading, tutoring, and other activities by students in Mamelodi.
There are different organisations and groups that are working towards improving the standard of living and education levels within the township. One of them is Tateni Community Care Services, funded in 1995, that operates 10 Drop-in Centres, mostly in primary schools, to support young children. Furthermore, they have a youth development program to support youth in- and out-of-school to work towards their "Breaking the Cycle of Poverty" approach. Another organization The Mamelodi Trust operates within five schools in the area. The Mamelodi Initiative, launched in 2010, focuses on providing after school and out-of-school time programming to Mamelodi residents through winter and summer holiday programmes, year-round computer courses, youth mentoring, and other opportunities for youth.
The township is home to the Mamelodi Sundowns of the ABSA Premier League and the Mamelodi Bees Basketball of the South African Women's Basketball League.
Mamelodi has produced football stars like Themba Mguni, Daniel "Mambush" Mudau, Sammy Zindos and Joel 'Fire' Masilela who were both sported from Mamelod Publican FC by Sundowns.
It is also the home of Edward "MaGents" Motale: former Bafana bafana and Orlando Pirates player to wear the coveted Gold stars for winning both the African cup of Nations and African Nations cup for club and country.
The HM Pitje Stadium is located in Mamelodi.
Mamelodi is also home to Kaiser Chiefs star George Lebese and Lucky Mohomi of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Mamelodi is also home to Former Miss South Africa 2003 Joan Ramagoshi.
There are a lot of informal settlements in Mamelodi. The housing problem is so great in the area, but it is proving impossible to keep up with the demand. The Rates of youth unemployment and drug use are high.
Crime is also a major problem facing the community with poverty, unemployment and social issues being the major contributors. The community has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, like looting during strikes and destruction of public properties with the aim to get the attention of the government to speed up service delivery.
One major outreach program in Mamelodi is the Viva Foundation. Viva works to support orphans and vulnerable children, as well as giving community members business and skills training. Viva's Mamelodi compound is host to a preschool, small store, kitchen, and safe house for orphans. Viva has also worked to produce a "living art gallery" by painting several homes surrounding the compound.
Another major outreach project situated on the University of Pretoria Mamelodi Campus is the Itsoseng Clinic, a psychological clinic providing free psychological services to the community of Pretoria. The Clinic is a project of the University of Pretoria's Department of Psychology and is in operation since 1994. The clinic collaborates with other helping services, i.e. policing services, hospitals, crisis centra, orphanages, hospices, etc. in the community to address issues related to poverty, crime, unemployment, such as substance and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, HIV/Aids related issues and learning and other difficulties. This is the only psychological facility in the community offering free services to the community. Services are provided by volunteers, students, interns and professional university staff.
Solomon Mahlangu is commemorated in the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom Square in his hometown of Mamelodi, Pretoria. The square is focused on a bronze statue of Mahlangu. It is located in well maintained parklands on the corner of Maphalla Drive and Tsamaya Avenue.Solomon Mahlangu