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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Big Swing

Coming across some of my adventures through the years, one of them I wish to share with all of you. This jump was paid for me. WHY? If I jump, my guest will jump!!!

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Big Swing Graskop, Mpumulanga, South-Africa

Why visiting Southern Africa?

We have decided to make use of National Geographic’s video.

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Bophuthatswana

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The Bophuthatswana Territorial Authority was created in 1961, and in June 1972 Bophuthatswana was declared a self-governing state. On 6 December 1977 this ‘homeland’ was granted independence by the South African government. Bophuthatswana’s capital city was Mmabatho and 99% of its population was Tswana speaking. This new country’s independence was recognised by South Africa and the Transkei only. In order to gain independent country status internationally, its President, Lucas Mangope, launched a campaign to build top-class facilities, including hospitals, schools and sports stadia. Bophuthatswana’s application to be declared an independent state outside the rule of South Africa was turned down in 1986. In 1993 the country’s population was 2 489 347. It was estimated that in the same year, her military force was some 4 000 soldiers.

Lucas Mangope became the first Prime Minister of Bophuthatswana in 1972, and retained the position until independence in 1977 after which he was appointed as the first President of the country. He remained in this position until 1994, when the country was reincorporated into South Africa. On 10 February 1988 Rocky Malabane-Metsing became the President of Bophuthatswana for a day when he took over government through a military coup. The situation was quickly reversed by the following day by the intervention of the South African government and Defence Force, and Mangope continued his presidency.

Its main political parties were the Christian Democratic Party and the Progressive People’s Party that was established in 1987 and later banned. Prior to 1994 a group of Afrikaner right-wingers attempted to stage a coup in Bophuthatswana, but the army and police dealt with the intruders, killing several on live television.

In March 1994 Bophuthatswana was placed under the control of two administrators, Tjaart van der Walt and Job Mokgoro. The small, widespread pieces of land were reincorporated into South Africa on 27 April 1994. Bophuthatswana is part of the North West Province under Premier Edna Molewa.

Republic of Transkei, South Africa

Transkei Flag transkei

Originally the Transkei included the territories of Idutywa Reserve, Fingoland (Mfenguland) and Galekaland (Gcalekaland). Following their annexation they were restructured into the divisions of Butterworth, Tsomo and Nqamakwe for Fingoland; Kentani and Willowvale for Galekaland; and Idutywa for the Idutywa Reserve.

Transkei, former republic (though never internationally recognized as such) and Bantustan in Southern Africa. It lay along the Indian Ocean and was surrounded mainly by the Republic of South Africa, though to the north it also touched Lesotho. Transkei consisted of three separate land units, two much smaller than the third. The capital was at Umtata.

Transkei was administratively created by the South African government in 1959 as a non-independent Bantustan designated (together with Ciskei) for the Xhosa-speaking peoples. Transkei was made nominally independent in 1976 in order to serve as a legal homeland for millions of Xhosa-speaking blacks who had lost their South African citizenship under the apartheid system of racial separation.

By the early 2nd millennium ce, the area to the east of the Great Kei River was occupied by the ancestors of the present-day Cape Nguni. These peoples are primarily speakers of Xhosa and closely related dialects—Thembu (Tembu), Mpondo (Pondo), and Mpondomse (Mpondomise). After 1820 they were joined by the Mfengu (“Homeless Wanderers”), people of various chiefdoms from what is now the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, who were fleeing before the Zulu chief Shaka.

As Europeans (Boers) moved into the territory from the west, they clashed with the resident Africans, and in 1778 the Great Fish River was fixed as a boundary between the Xhosa (the southernmost Cape Nguni) and the Cape Colony; but the Xhosa did not understand that the treaty was intended to limit their westward expansion. The Europeans attached the name “Ciskei” to the Xhosa lands between the Great Fish and Great Kei rivers; those lands lying east of the Great Kei they called “Transkei.” A series of Cape Frontier Wars ensued between 1779 and 1879. In 1847 the British annexed Kaffraria, an area directly west of the Great Kei that was attached to the Cape Colony in 1866. Between 1879 and 1894 the other Transkeian geographic regions—Griqualand East, Pondoland, and Tembuland—were incorporated within the Cape Colony. In 1894 territorial councils were established, replacing the Cape Nguni’s traditional political system, and by the beginning of the 20th century, these were grouped under a single General Council for the Transkeian Territories. In 1910, when the Union of South Africa was formed, these territories were incorporated into it as part of the Cape of Good Hope province.

Under the Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act of 1959, Transkei became the first of the Bantu Homelands, or Bantustans, and in 1963 a Legislative Assembly was introduced, all of whose actions, however, had to be approved by South Africa. Upon the creation of a (nominally) independent Transkei in 1976, all black Africans with language ties to Transkei (whether or not they lived there) lost their South African citizenship and became citizens of the new country. TheOrganization of African Unity urged the world to shun Transkei on the grounds that recognition would constitute acceptance of apartheid, and the United Nations supported its view.

Under the South African constitution that abolished the apartheid system, Transkei was reincorporated into South Africa in 1994 as part of the newly created Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

Ciskei, Eastern Cape, South Africa

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ciskei

Xhosa people

The Ciskei Bantustan in the Eastern Cape was created as an enclave for the South Africa’s Xhosa-speaking people as part of apartheid racial segregation. Despite Government rhetoric that this ‘independent state’ would encourage cultural protection and separate development of these people, the Ciskei along with other Bantustans served to provide White South Africa with cheap, controlled labour pools.

The working population of Zwelitsha township, first declared the capital of Ciskei, were mostly employed in nearby ‘White’ towns such as Grahamstown. Later a new capital of Bisho in King Williams town was declared.

Ciskei history dates to the early 1920s, when the South African Union government restructured the Bunga system that was applied to administer the area under British colonial rule. The Bunga, which was an advisory council, comprising traditional authorities and the educated elite held little power. The Bunga local unit consisted of a headman or the traditional inkundla (local assemblies) system. Before colonial rule these were autonomous and their decisions were collective. Within the Bunga system, local assembly authority was subject to the Magistrate’s Court. The Bantu Authorities Act of 1951 withdrew their remaining power, bringing them under direct control of the government. Traditional authorities were thus bureaucratised. Chiefs and headmen were no longer accountable to their people, but to the government. The purpose of Bantu Authorities was to pave the way for the creation of Bantustans and racial segregation. This caused much anger.

The government of Ciskei was formed in 1961 after the South African government declared it a separate administrative territory. In 1972 the status was elevated to self-governing territory. This coincided with stronger efforts to forcibly remove Xhosa-speakers to Ciskei. On 4 December 1982, Ciskei became an independent republic, recognised only by the South African government and other ‘independent’ homeland states in South Africa.

Most South Africans rejected and fought against the idea of Ciskei. “Ciskeians” lost their South African citizenship. The Ciskei remained with its neighbour, Transkei, among the most neglected areas of South Africa. Jobs in the Ciskei were limited to government or government-sponsored projects, and South African-sponsored factories. Most of these factories were neither economically viable nor legal entities in terms of labour practice. They were mostly Taiwanese owned emerged out efforts to attract foreign investors with promises of cheap labour and repression of unions. These factories became the target of popular anger in the final days of the Apartheid regime. After the 1994 democratic elections in South Africa, bantustans were dissolved and the area known as Ciskei , restored to the Eastern Cape province.

Pietermaritzburg, South-Africa History

Umgungundlovu – Place of the Elephant

The symbol of Pietermaritzburg is the elephant. The Zulu King, Dingaan (died 1843), was known to his people as “The Elephant”. As a result, his residence was called Umgungundlovu (“The Abode of the Big Chief”) the literal translation being “The Abode of the Elephant”. When the Location System was established in Natal by the Colonial Government in the 1840s, each location was placed under the control of a Zulu chief, who was directly responsible to Lieutenant-Governor Martin West in the capital, Pietermaritzburg. By a natural transition, the capital became known to the Zulu’s as Umgungundlovu, the place where the Big Chief (Martin West) resided. This, then, is the significance of the elephant symbol of Pietermaritzburg, which features on the city’s crest. The azalea is the city’s floral emblem.

Pietermaritzburg is one of Africa’s most important historical cities. Contrary to its strong British Colonial architecture, the founding of the City of Pietermaritzburg had nothing to do with the British. In 1838, the Dutch-speaking Voortrekkers moved into Natal from the Cape and laid out a town between the Umsunduzi River and the Dorp Spruit (stream). They named it after their leader, Pieter Retief. At the time of the town’s centenary in 1938, it was decreed that the leader of the second trek into Natal, Gert Maritz, should also be commemorated and the city’s official name became Pietermaritzburg.

Here is a city proud of its heritage and determined to conserve buildings of character. Outstanding among the many Victorian and Edwardian buildings of red brick is the City Hall, built on the site of the old Voortrekker Raadsaal (meeting hall) in 1900 and declared a National Monument in 1969. Notable for its domes and fine stained glass windows, it is the largest all-brick building in the Southern Hemisphere and an ideal starting point for tourists. 
The city also has strong links with the French Royal House, through The Prince Imperial – Louis Napoleon. Pietermaritzburg has one of the most significant liberation histories in the world. Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela have extensive links with the city and the great liberal author Alan Paton was a Pietermaritzburg citizen. Another one of the city’s 39 historic (national) monuments, Publicity House, is only 100 metres from the City Hall. The international “I” (for information) sign ensures visitors a warm welcome. Maps and brochures are available, plus unique Pietermaritzburg and Colonial Natal souvenirs, postcards, and even video programs to show the folks back home.

On the morning of June 1, the troop set out, earlier than intended, and without the full escort, largely owing to Louis’s impatience. Led by Carey, the scouts rode deeper into Zululand. Without Harrison or Buller present to restrain him, the Prince took command from Carey, even though the latter had seniority.

At noon the troop was halted at a temporarily deserted kraal while Louis and Carey made some sketches of the terrain, and used part of the thatch to make a fire. No lookout was posted. As they were preparing to leave, about 40 Zulus fired upon them and rushed toward them screaming ……

A few hitching rails in the central area are reminders of the city’s romantic and leisurely past. One is outside the Imperial Hotel, from whence Louis Napoleon, the Prince Imperial of France, rode to his death in a Zulu ambush in 1879.

Another stands near the entrance to The Natal Witness, South Africa’s oldest daily newspaper, founded in 1846 by David Dale Buchanan, a Scottish immigrant. Opposite the newspaper offices are the soaring columns and copper domes of the old Natal Parliament buildings, where tourists catch a glimpse of the splendor of colonial days.

These buildings, and the old Supreme Court (Tatham Art Gallery) completed in 1871, are linked to the central network of quaint pedestrian lanes – a charming attraction for visitors. Upon the hill overlooking the city there is much evidence of the settlement’s transformation into a garrison town. Fort Napier was founded in 1943 when the 45th Regiment (Sherwood Foresters) camped there and remained for 15 years – a record in the British Army for the length of overseas service.

The fort’s St. George’s Church, built in 1897 by troops as a memorial to their comrades, and the nearby cemetery with its military graves dating back to the 1840s, are favorite spots for tourists who like to soak up the atmosphere of a bygone era. Because of its founders, Pietermaritzburg played an important role in Afrikaner history, and the few tangible reminders of the trekking pioneers attract thousands of visitors every year.

After Pieter Retief’s death at the hands of the Zulu’s early in 1838 and the subsequent massacre of more than 600 Voortrekkers in the Weenen district, a vengeful commando under the leadership of Andries Pretorius defeated the Zulu army at the Battle of Blood River on December 16, 1838.

At a prayer meeting before the action, the Boers vowed to build a church if they were granted victory, and the Church of the Vow was completed in 1841 in Pietermaritzburg. It is now a fine museum.Andries Pretorius’ house and statues of Retief and Maritz complete this popular tourist complex.

Also evident is the later contribution of the city’s Indian population, descendants of indentured labour brought to Natal in the 1860s to work in the sugar cane fields. They added a distinct Eastern blend – Hindu temples, Moslem mosques, colourful saris, spice shops and the annual fire-walking ceremony on Good Friday.