Rustenburg History

My town of birth in 1969-12-16. Rustenburg – North-west Province – South Africa.

Have you tried to learn more about your own town and maybe some mystery there?

FROM:                   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rustenburg

 

Rustenburg is prominent in Afrikaner history. The town was established in 1851 as an administrative centre for a fertile farming area producing citrus fruit, tobacco, peanuts, sunflower seeds, maize, wheat and cattle. On 10 February 1859, the local Dutch Reformed Church community was established. One of the oldest Boer settlements in the north, Rustenburg was the home of Paul Kruger, president of the South African Republic, who bought a 5 square kilometer farm to the north-west of the town in 1863. The homestead on his farm, Boekenhoutfontein, is now the Paul Kruger Country Museum. When the Boer and the British came to blows in the Second Boer War (1899), the territory around Rustenburg became a battlefield. The two sides clashed famously at nearby Mafikeng, where the British garrison found itself under siege for months. These battle sites can be explored from Rustenburg.

Before European settlers arrived, the area had been settled by agrarian Setswana speaking tribes for several hundred years after colonising the native pastoralist Khoikhoi people. Rustenburg’s population is primarily Tswana people. Many belong to the Royal Bafokeng Nation, extensive landowners earning royalties from mining operations. The Royal Bafokeng are descendants of Sotho settlers who displaced the local tribes from the region, which they came to call ‘place of dew’ (Phokeng). In the early 1800s, the Bafokeng and other Tswana communities were conquered in a series of devastating wars launched by an offshoot of the Zulu kingdom, called the Matabele. The Boers had also fought the Zulu and Matabele, and so the Boers and Tswana found in the Matabele a common enemy. The Tswana and Boers planned together and worked toward defeating the Matabele from a Sotho-Tswana kingdom to the south, and together, they defeated the Matebele. As the Boers settled in the area, called their settlement Rustenburg because they had relatively friendly relations with their Bafokeng allies in the area, and after the many violent military conflicts with other African chiefdoms, such as the Matabele, they believed they could rest (“rusten” in Dutch) in this settlement, whose name literally means “Resting Town.” Although had already long lived in the area when the Boers arrived, the Bafokeng bought land rights from the Boers, and they purchased their first tracts of land in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century from the colonial rulers, some in exchange for serving in the Boer Wars. Although these land purchases were technically illegal, Paul Kruger, who would become a president of the Transvaal Boer Republic, but was then a veld kornet, was friendly to the Bafokeng and helped arrange many of these purchases. The majority of people in the region 20 years after the fall of apartheid still live in abject poverty despite the massive profits yielded by the platinum royalties. This has led in recent years to claims of kleptocracy against the ‘royal’ family and land claim disputes.

Among the first residents of Rustenburg were settlers of Indian origin. One of the first families of Indian origin was the Bhyat family, whose contribution to the city’s history was marked by the renaming of a major streetname to Fatima Bhayat Street in honour of Fatima Bhyat who arrived in Rustenburg with her husband in 1877.

With the arrival and successful farming practices of the Afrikaners (Boers) in the nineteenth century, Rustenburg became a primary agricultural region with vast citrus estates due to the favourable climate and abundant water supply.

Platinum mining in Rustenburg began in 1929, shortly after the discovery of the Platinum Reef by Hans Merensky, later named the Merensky Reef. The town has been transformed from a region recognized around the world since the 19th century for its natural springs and healing environment, as eloquently described in the book ‘Rustenburg Romance’ by author and poet Eric Rosenthal into one of the most polluted environments in the late 20th and early 21st century South Africa. The wanton despoliation of the environment through mining has drawn comparisons to the Norilsk complex in Russia, one of the ten most polluted cities in the world.

With the implementation of apartheid after 1948 life became more severe for ‘non-whites’ with 9 pm curfews and the most stringent enforcement of pass laws in the country. This was welcomed by the mining industry as it gave them a tighter grip on the migrant labour which was the backbone of their operations. Ethnic groups were moved forcibly from the center of town to the Indian, Coloured or Black areas, Zinniaville, Karlien Park and Boitekong respectively. The pass laws were abolished with the fall of apartheid.

The township of Boitekong on the northeast side of Rustenburg has one of the highest incidence of AIDS orphans in South Africa Boitekong was the venue for World AIDS Day commemoration in December 2010. The township is in a geographical area which bears the brunt of the catchment area of the toxic effects of the mining industry coupled with a very poor quality of water supply from the local Bospoort Dam, the water from which was for decades considered too toxic for human consumption until water shortages in the nineties compelled the purification and supply to Boitekong. Life for the majority under the rule of the ‘Royal Bafokeng’ has parallels to the apartheid era. In the Apartheid era, forced removals of old settlements were on the basis of racial divide whereas now it is done for installation of massive mining operations sometimes engulfing entire villages. (see ‘Rasimone’ on Google Earth)

The Royal Bafokeng own the stadium selected as a World Cup 2010 venue, the only ‘private’ stadium that hosted games in the 2010 World cup. The Royal Bafokeng regard themselves as a ‘separate nation’ which is in contradiction to the Rainbow nation espoused by Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. This ‘nationhood’ is regarded by many today as a divide and rule tactic orchestrated by the mining conglomerates which has subsequently led to the calls for nationalization of the mining industry by the ANC Youth League.

Agriculture in the region has been in constant decline since the decimation of the vast citrus estates of Rustenburg in the 70’s and 80’s due to pollution from increased smelting and beneficiating processes by mines. There are only a fraction of the original citrus farms remaining.

Comparisons can be drawn between the Klondike gold rush and the events in Rustenburg in the late 20th and early 21st century which led to it becoming one of the fastest growing cities in South Africa.

In 1990, the first post-Apartheid conference between the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk (the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa) and the South African churches was held in Rustenburg. During this conference, professor Willie Jonker of the University of Stellenbosch made this confession on behalf of the entire DRC:

“[I] confess before you and before the Lord, not only my own sin and guilt, and my personal responsibility for the political, social, economic and structural wrongs that have been done to many of you and the results [from] which you and our whole country are still suffering, but vicariously I dare also to do that in the name of the NGK [the white DRC], of which I am a member, and for the Afrikaans people as a whole.”

The conference finally resulted in the signing of the Rustenburg Declaration, which moved strongly toward complete confession, forgiveness, and restitution.

In August 2012, South African police fatally shot 34 miners and wounded 78 more during an industrial dispute Marikana miners’ strike near Rustenburg, it was the most lethal use of force by South African security forces since the end of the apartheid era.

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National Parks vs Private Game Reserves

 

A self-drive in the Kruger National Park or a safari in a private game reserve? A question asked by tourists and locals alike, time and time again. Surely the animals are the same? One could even argue that between the Kruger and a private game reserve such as the Sabi Sand or Timbavati one could see exactly the same elephant, since the animals have the luxury of roaming freely between the reserves. But that’s rubbish. And here’s why… Botswana has no fences.

My first ever sighting of a hyena was on a main road in the Kruger National Park – it was a hyena pup. What a sight! But instead of being able to follow the hyena through the bush in a 4×4, we were jostling for a vantage point with a bunch of other tourists. In a closed VW Golf. Heads and cameras were outstretched in an ungainly attempt to get a half-decent photo. After half an hour we reached the front of the queue and our reward was a 30 second view of the adorable pup before being hooted at – yes…hooted! Time to move on in search of our next impala.

A real safari is about the overall experience. Tales over pre-dinner drinks from courageous rangers and the sudden use of the flash light during dinner to see the hippo in front of the deck all create the memories that urge us to return at the first opportunity. It’s about submerging yourself in an African fantasy while at the same time seeing real nature in all its spectacular (and at times brutal) glory. It’s about stepping up onto a safari vehicle in search of the Big 5. It’s about the thrill of marauding through the bush after a pack of wild dogs in hot pursuit of an impala.

Why is the game viewing better in a Private Game Reserve?
It’s private! No cars of other tourists in a dazzling array of blinding colours.

Safari vehicles can go off road. In a national park you will be limited to animals visible from the main roads.

The best and most knowledgeable rangers in the business work at the private game reserves.

Rangers are not restricted to national park hours, which means that they can go on night drives. It also means that you can stay as long as you want on a sighting!

Elevated, open-top safari vehicles give you the best view possible so you can get the perfect photo.

Rangers can lead walking safaris so that you can get that perfect photo right up the rhino’s nostril!

You might often hear about about ‘traversing rights’ in reference to your safari experience. So what are traversing rights? Traversing rights allow neighbouring lodges to drive on each others’ land which means more space for you to explore and find animals. The larger the traversing area the better! More land = more biodiversity. Limpopo, Mpumulanga and in KwaZulu-Natal.

Pretoria, Gauteng

GO005 GR008

History
First inhabitants

The Southern Transvaal Ndebele occupied the river valley, which was to become the location of the city of Pretoria, by around 1600. During the difaqane in Natal, another band of refugees arrived in this area under the leadership of Mzilikazi. However, they were forced to abandon their villages in their flight from a regiment of Zulu raiders in 1832.

The first “Boer” homestead in the Pretoria area was probably the home of J.G.S. Bronkhorst, who settled in the Fountains Valley in 1840. More Boer families put down roots around the nearby Elandspoort settlement. In 1854, two years after the Sand River Convention conferred formal independence on the territory north of the Vaal River, the residents of Elandspoort had the village proclaimed the ‘kerkplaas’ for central Transvaal. This made it the focal point for communions, baptisms and weddings.

The Founding of Pretoria

Pretoria itself was founded in 1855 by Marthinus Pretorius, a leader of the Voortrekkers, who named it after his father Andries Pretorius. The elder Pretorius had become a national hero of the Voortrekkers after his victory over the Zulus in the Battle of Blood River. Andries Pretorius also negotiated the Sand River Convention (1852), in which Britain acknowledged the independence of the Transvaal. Pretoria, at it’s founding year, consisted of about 80 houses and 300 residents.

Pretoria became the capital of the South African Republic (ZAR) on 1 May 1860. The founding of Pretoria as the capital of the South African Republic can be seen as marking the end of the Boers’ settlement movements of the Great Trek.

Development of Pretoria as we know it today

Commandant-General Marthinus Wessel Pretorius had bought a large amount of land in the area, which was taken over by the government as they foresaw the development of a large centre. The town proper began to take shape in 1856 as a result of Andries du Toit, a presidential advisor, exchanging of one of his Basutho ponies for the entire area known, today, as Arcadia. He spent the next two years surveying his property with pegs and chains. Stephanus Meintjies developed the area and was honoured by having a nearby hillock named Meinjieskop. This resulted in Pretoria extending from Potgieter Street in the west to Prinsloo Street in the east and from Boom Street in the North to Scheiding Street in the South.

Not long after its establishment it became known as the ‘city of roses’ because its climate encouraged the growth of rambler roses, which covered gardens and hedges all around the city. In 1888 J.D. Cilliers, a resident ad avid gardener, imported Jacaranda trees from Rio de Janeiro to plant in his Myrtle Grove garden. These trees flourished and as a result the city is now aptly known as the ‘Jacaranda City’, with about 50 000 Jacarandas lining its streets.

The British annexed the Transvaal in April 1877, which resulted in a steady flow of immigrants and migrants. During the Transvaal War of Independence the British withdrew and Paul Kruger took over.

The Boer Republics of the ZAR and the Orange Free State were united with the Cape Colony and Natal Colony in 1910 to become the Union of South Africa. Pretoria then became the administrative capital of the whole of South Africa, with Cape Town the legislative capital. Between 1860 and 1994, the city was also the capital of the province of Transvaal, superseding Potchefstroom in that role.

On 14 October 1931, Pretoria achieved official city status. When South Africa became a republic in 1961, Pretoria remained its administrative capital.

Post Apartheid

After the creation of new municipal structures across South Africa in 2000, the name Tshwane was adopted for the Metropolitan Municipality that includes Pretoria and surrounding towns.

Pretoria previously had a rather sinister image as “the capital of Apartheid South Africa”. However, Pretoria’s political reputation was changed with the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as the country’s first black President at the Union Buildings in the same city.

In 1994 Peter Holmes Maluleka was elected as transitional mayor of Pretoria, until the first democratic election held later that year, making him the first black mayor of this capital of South Africa. Maluleka later became the chairman of the Greater Pretoria Metropolitan City Council (later Tshwane Metro Council), then was elected Speaker of the Tshwane Metro Council and in 2004 was chosen to be a member of the South African Parliament for the Soshanguve constituency.

Significant Landmarks

Church Square has always been the hub of Pretoria, although it was initially called Market Square. This was where the first church, a mud-walled building, was built. It burnt down in 1882 and was replaced by a much grander structure. Open markets were regularly held in the Square and Albert Broderick, an Englishman christened Albertus Broodryk, by his Afrikaans friends and customers established himself as shopkeeper. He also ran the community’s first bar, the ‘Hole-in-the-Wall’.

When Mr. Sammy Marks, a well-known Jewish industrialist and close friend of President Paul Kruger, was allowed to build the town’s first synagogue he expressed his pleasure by commissioning the sculptor Anton van Wouw to produce a statue of the president. A plinth was erected in Church Square to receive the bronze figure that had been cast in Rome. Unfortunately the South African War broke out and the statue was held up in the then Lorenzo Marques. This resulted in the statue only being erected in 1854, after several changes of site. Church Square was redesigned as a tramway in 1910, much to the disappointment of many of Pretoria’s residents who had tried to convince the civic authorities to create a gracious area of fountains, gardens and Continental-style paving in order to showcase Pretoria as a city.

During the rule of the old dispensation Pretoria was the Administrative capital of South Africa. The modern city has many features that retain a position of importance in, especially, the white history of the country. These include the Union Buildings, designed by Sir Herbert Baker, which still houses government establishments; the old Raadsaal (council chamber) of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek on Church Square and the house where President Paul Kruger lived until his exile in 1900.

Outside the city towers the Voortrekker Monument and the two massive forts, Klapperkop and Schanskop, built by the Boers to protect their capital against the British. Here you can also find the large and imposing buildings of the University of South Africa (UNISA).

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We wish all people over the world a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, may you be blessed for 2015 and be safe during festive season. From Afrikaya Leisure Travel and Afrikaya Tours

Merry_Christmas

MAKAPANSGAT: CAVES THROUGH AGES

Art Cave

LOCALITY

The Makapansgat Caves and neighbouring archaeological and fossil sites are situated on the farm Makapansgat 19km north of Potgietersrus in the Northern Province. The caves are of great importance as they provide a record of hominid occupation from australopithecine (ape-man) times through the Stone and Iron Ages, right up to the present day. As such, the Makapansgat Valley is unique in that nowhere else in the world, such an extended and complete record of hominid occupation has been observed.

HISTORY

In February 1925 Prof Raymond Dart announced the discovery of the first ape-man at Taung (Northwest Province) with these profound words:”The specimen is of importance because it exhibits an extinct race of apes intermediate between living anthropoids (apes such as chimpanzees) and man…..”. A teacher from Pietersburg, Mr Wilfred Eitzman, inspired by this discovery, sent Dart some rocks containing fossils which he found near the lime kilns on the farm Makapansgat. This is how one of the most revealing chapters of the origin and evolution on Humankind was opened.

MAKAPANSGAT VALLEY SITES

 

MAKAPANSGAT LIMEWORKS

 

This is the oldest of the sites, spanning an age of between 3,32 million years to 1,6 million years ago. This site has yielded many thousands of fossil bones, amongst which were found remains of the gracile ape-man Australopithecus africanus.

 

CAVE OF HEARTHS & HYAENA CAVE

 

The Cave of Hearths preserves a remarkably complete record of human occupation from Early Stone Age “Acheulian” times in the oldest sediments through the Middle Stone Age, the Later Stone Age and up to the Iron Age. Nineteenth Century European relics such as brass ware and musket balls were found at the surface when excavations started.

BUFFALO CAVE

A small number of fossils were collected by Dr Robert Broom from this site in 1937, including the remains of the extinct buffalo Bos makapania. More recent excavations have revealed an extensive fauna including antelope, horses, pigs, monkeys and carnivores which suggest a Pleistocene age for the deposits.

FICUS CAVE & IRON AGE SITE

The cave gets its name from the fig tree Ficus ingens roots which curtain its entrance. This cave contains Iron Age and 19th Century relics, a large bat colony and an underground lake. An Iron Age site close by yields occupational debris from approximately Early Iron Age (550 AD), 870 AD and the Late Iron Age (1560 AD). The slopes adjacent to the cave are artificially terraced and archaelogical finds from these include patsherds, grindstones, hammer stones and relics of iron smelting operations, including ore, slag and fragments of tuyeres.

PEPPERCORNE’S CAVE

This cave contains Iron Age and ancient relics and an underground lake. It is also home to a large colony of migratory long-fingered bats, Miniopteris schreibersii.

 

RAINBOW CAVE

This cave is situated immediately below the Historic Cave and contains the remains of several hearths, indicating both human occupation and the controlled us of fire. The exposed sediments have yielded Middle Stone Age artifacts of the Piertersburg Culture of between 100 000 and 50 000 years ago.

HISTORIC CAVE OR MAKAPANSGAT

 

This site lies immediately adjacent to the Cave of Hearths and preserves Iron Age and Mfecane relics. It is most famous as the clash between a Boer Commando and local Langa and Kekana people after the murders of Voortrekkers at Moorddrift, Mapela and Pruizen. Chief Makapan (Mokopane), together with a large number of his tribespeople and their cattle were besieged in the cave for nearly a month between 25 October and 21 November 1854, during which time many hundreds died of hunger and thirst. Piet Potgieter was shot during the siege and the name of the nearby town was changed from Vredenburg to Pieter Potgietersrust, which in time changed to Potgietersrus. The cave was proclaimed a National Monument in 1936.

DISCOVERIES IN MAKAPANSGAT VALLEY

The rocks Prof Dart received from Mr Eitzman turned out to contain, amongst others, blackened fossil bones which led him to believe that they were burnt. Although no hominid remains or stone tools were found at first, he concluded that these were the remains of bones burnt in fireplaces and therefore that Mokapansgat was a site of early hominid occupation. Dart named the first hominids discovered at the site Australopithecus Prometheus after the mythological Greek hero who stole fire from the Gods. Afterwards the black markings turned out to be manganese stains and Australopithecus Prometheus turned out to be specimens of Australopithecus africanus. On the basis of an analysis of 7159 fossil bones, Dart concluded that these creatures, in an era before stone tools were discovered, used tools made from bone, teeth and horn, naming it the Osteodontokeratic Culture.

In 1936, the Historical Monuments Commission was asked to declare Makapan’s Cave a National Monument and Prof C van Riet Lowe, secretary of the Commission and Director of the Archaeological Survey of the Union of South Africa, visited the site in 1937. He inspected the Historic Cave and discovered close by an abandoned limeworker’s adit which cut through a calcified cave infill. In this infill he saw fossil bones, stone tools and what he took to be ash horizons, representing ancient hearths. After initially referring to it as part of Makapan’s Cave, he later renamed it “The Cave of Hearths”.

Further research during June and October 1937 revealed the Rainbow Cave. The site was visited by Van Riet Lowe, Dart and Robert Broom. HBS Cooke of the Geology Department of the University of the Witwatersrand conducted a geological survey of the area (1941) followed by LC King in 1951.

Philip Tobias led a group of students in July 1945 to the valley where they discovered the Hyaena Cave adjacent to Van Riet Lowe’s site. Further down the valley, from a cave adjacent to the limeworks, they collected a large fossil horse’s lower jaw, from which the Cave of the Horse’s Mandible derived its name.

After these discoveries, Dr Bernard Price made a research grant available for systematic excavations which commenced at the Cave of Hearths in 1947, field work being carried out by Guy Gardiner, James Kitching and his brothers Ben and Scheepers. One of he most significant discoveries was a Homo lower jaw from Bed 3 by Ben. In 1953 Dr RJ Mason was placed in charge of the excavations and the stratigraphic sequence was determined during 1953-1954.

After the Kitching brothers discovered an ape-man braincase amongst the Limeworks dumps in 1947, Dart organized for the lime miner’s dumps to be hand-sorted in order to recover as much fossil-bearing material as possible. After 45 years of research, many thousands of fossils from this site have been identified and catalogued.

B Maguire studied rocks which were brought from outside into the caves during prehistoric times (1965, 1968, 1980). This he interpreted to represent rudimentary stone tool making activities dated at around 2,3 – 1,6 million years ago.

Mapungubwe national park

golden_rhino Mapungubwe

Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site is the ideal location for anyone interested in the park’s wildlife and birds, to those in search of serenity, identity and the extraordinary history of this World Heritage Site…

Come and join these diverse pilgrims and share unforgetable moments sipping sundowners at the confluence of the legendary Limpopo and Shashe Rivers, watch the eagles soar over Botswana and Zimbabwe’s skies, hear the echo of elephant trumpets, take a tree top walk or just relax and absorb the surroundings… Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site is rich in biodiversity, great scenic beauty and the cultural importance of the archaeological treasures of Mapungubwe.

The Lost City: Visit Mapungubwe Hill, where a far developed African civilisation prospered between 1200 and 1270 AD. The area was already inhabited by a growing Iron Age community from 900 AD and became rich through trade with faraway places like Egypt, India and China. This is the place where archeologists excavated the famous golden rhino and other evidence of a wealthy African kingdom.

Wildlife and Mystic Scenery: Sandstone formations, mopane woodlands and unique riverine forest and baobab trees form the astounding scenic backdrop for a rich variety of animal life. Elephant, giraffe, white rhino, eland, gemsbok and numerous other antelope species occur naturally in the area. Lucky visitors might spot predators like lions, leopards and hyenas. Birders can tick off 400 species, including kori bustard, tropical boubou and pel’s fishing owl.

The Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre : The Centre which is built near the main gate of the Mapungubwe National Park won the building of the year competition in 2009 and is home to the famous Golden Rhino. The Centre provides both day and over-night visitors the opportunity of a tour, showcasing the amazing landscape that the National Park has to offer.

Joining Nations: The Iron Age civilization of Mapungubwe was not limited by the Limpopo river and animals have always been able to wander around in the area of present-day South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. This is why South Africa signed a memorandum of understanding with Botswana and Zimbabwe on June 22nd setting out principles for the Limpopo-Shashe Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA).

Johannesburg, Gauteng

Johannesburg,_City_of_Gold

Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Joburg, Jolburg, Joni, e-Goli orJoeys, abbreviated as JHB, is, by population, the largest city in South Africa. Johannesburg is the provincial capital ofGauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa. The city is one of the 50 largest urban agglomerations in the world, and is also the world’s largest city not situated on a river, lake, or coastline.

While Johannesburg is not one of South Africa’s three capital cities, it is the seat of the Constitutional Court, which has the final word on interpretation of South Africa’s constitution, and is the provincial capital of Gauteng. The city is the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade, due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills.

According to the 2007 Community Survey, the population of the city of Johannesburg was 4,434,827 and the population of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area was 7,151,447. A broader definition of the Johannesburg metropolitan area, including Ekurhuleni, the West Rand, Soweto and Lenasia, has a population of 10,267,700. The municipal city’s land area of 1,645 km2 (635 sq mi) is very large when compared with that of other cities, resulting in a moderate population density of 2,364/km2 (6,120/sq mi).

Johannesburg includes Soweto, which was a separate city from the late 1970s until the 1990s. Originally an acronym for “SOuth-WEstern TOwnships”, Soweto originated as a collection of settlements on the outskirts of Johannesburg populated mostly by native African workers in the gold-mining industry. In 1985 Mr. Nigel Mandy (BA Law – CA), who was the first General Manager of the Carlton Centre, published a book called “A City Divided” – meaning Soweto and Johannesburg cities were divided from a fiscal point of view, were divided by law and people – he also assisted the Provincial Government of the old Transvaal as well as post 1994, in developing a process whereby Black, Coloured, Indian and White people could become homeowners previously deprived from ownership during the apartheid era. (Ronnie Stevens – Gauteng Human Settlements – 2014) Eventually incorporated into Johannesburg, the apartheidgovernment (in power 1948–1994) separated Soweto from the rest of Johannesburg to make it an entirely black-residents area. The area called Lenasia has always been part of the City of Johannesburg. Lenasia is predominantly populated by those of English-speaking Indian ethnicity.